Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.
Phoenix LRT Extension Clears Environmental Hurdle
The Federal Transit Administration this week gave its stamp of environmental approval to the Valley Metro South Central light-rail expansion project in Phoenix, KJZZ reports.
The “finding of no significant impact” means that the project can continue on the fast track to completion Phoenix voters put it on in 2015.
The 5-mile light-rail line from downtown Phoenix to Baseline Road via South Central Avenue will serve a largely impoverished and heavily minority section of the city. Valley Metro had originally planned to open this line in 2034, but voter approval of the “Phoenix Transportation 2050” funding package in August 2015 allowed the agency to move the line’s completion date up to 2023.
The green light from the FTA means that design work can now start.
Rabat OKs Two Tram Extensions
The metropolitan council in the Moroccan capital of Rabat has given the go-ahead for extending one of the region’s two tram lines at both ends.
At its east end in Salé, the line will be extended 4.6 km (2.85 miles) from its current terminus at Hassan II to Zarbia Avenue, where it will serve the new provincial hospital in the Al Hssaine district.
The extension at the opposite end in Rabat will take the line an additional 2.4 km (1.49 miles) farther southwest from Moulay Youssef Hospital in Akkari to Al Kifah Avenue in Yaâcoub Al Mansour.
The Moroccan government’s Fund for Urban Road Transport Reform will pick up 592 million dirhams ($58.9 million U.S.) of the project’s projected cost.
Go-Ahead Given for Two LRT Lines in Tel Aviv
The Israeli business news site Globes reports that Israel’s Housing Cabinet has approved the initial segments of the second and third light-rail lines in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city and diplomatic capital.
The approved projects include the western section of the Purple Line and the central and southern sections of the Green Line.
The approved Purple Line segment is 18 km (11.1 miles) long and will have 29 stations. It will run from the central interchange station at Arlozorov eastward to Bar Ilan University. A future extension will take the line an additional 10 km (6.2 miles) to the east, ending at Yehud.
The two approved Green Line sections include the 5.9-km (3.6-mile) central section, 4.25 km (2.6 miles) of which will run in a subway in central Tel Aviv, and the southern segment, which will have two branches, one ending at Moshe Dayan in Rishon Lezion West and the other to a terminal in Holon.
The two lines are projected to carry more than 250,000 passengers daily and should enter service by 2030.
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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.