U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $36 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funds for Valley Metro Rail's Central Phoenix/East Valley Light Rail Project. It will help complete the rail line and allow Valley Metro to begin work on an extension. Funds will be used for signal work, communications, an operations control center, and further testing of two light rail cars to be put into service.
In 2005, the Federal Transit Administration signed a "full funding grant agreement" to provide $587 million, or 42 percent, of the $1.4 billion to be paid out over six years for the 19.6-mile project This recent allotment amounts to an advance of a portion of the project's 2010 payout amount. LaHood said that providing these funds now provides a boost that will help to move other important transit projects forward while stimulating the local economy.
Major activity centers along the light rail route include Sky Harbor Airport, Arizona State University, Papago Park Center, the Phoenix Convention Center, Chase Field, US Airways Arena and Sun Devil Stadium.
Valley Metro Rail expects to carry almost 50,000 riders each weekday by the year 2020.