In August 2015, voters in Phoenix approved Transportation 2050, a $31.5 billion sales tax measure that would add 42 miles of new light rail, bus rapid transit, and a host of new stations to the greater metro area. It was the third time in 20 years that residents had opted to expand the Valley Metro Rail system.
The existing network, which opened in 2008, was considered a runaway success. Ridership and revenues on the 26 miles connecting Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa far outstripped planners’ original projections. Today, roughly 50,000 riders use the system daily, which has been credited with helping spark an economic resurgence in downtown Phoenix.