AP NEWS
Click to copy
Click to copy

Light rail measure remains on ballot after high court ruling

July 24, 2019
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2016 file photo, a Metro Light Rail train stops for passengers in Phoenix. The Arizona State Supreme is set to decide Wednesday, July 24, 2019 whether an initiative that aims to halt expansion of Phoenix's light rail system can appear on a special election ballot in August. The Arizona chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America in January had sued to keep the initiative off the ballot, saying that Building a Better Phoenix had collected the signatures incorrectly and that the initiative language was imprecise. (AP Photo/Paul Davenport, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2016 file photo, a Metro Light Rail train stops for passengers in Phoenix. The Arizona State Supreme is set to decide Wednesday, July 24, 2019 whether an initiative that aims to halt expansion of Phoenix's light rail system can appear on a special election ballot in August. The Arizona chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America in January had sued to keep the initiative off the ballot, saying that Building a Better Phoenix had collected the signatures incorrectly and that the initiative language was imprecise. (AP Photo/Paul Davenport, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A voter initiative that seeks to halt any additional expansion of the Phoenix light rail system will remain on next month’s special election ballot under a decision Wednesday by the Arizona Supreme Court.

In its opinion , the high court rejected a contractor group’s argument that the measure should be kept off the ballot because people were paid to collect signatures for petitions to put the measure before voters. The court said a state prohibition on paying collectors by the signature applies only to statewide ballot measures, not local ones.

The justices also rejected arguments by the Arizona chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America that the initiative description’s wording was flawed.

Supporters of the city’s light rail system had hoped to keep the initiative off the ballot.

If voters approve the measure during a special city election Aug. 27, any planned rail extensions will be stopped and any funds set aside will go to other transportation projects.

The effort to put the measure before voters was launched by a group called Building a Better Phoenix, which was involved in last year’s fight against plans to extend the rail system into south Phoenix.

That proposal was later approved by the City Council and requires that the four-lane roadway down Central Avenue be narrowed to just two lanes, one in each direction.

Now stretching 26.3 miles (42 kilometers), construction of the Valley Metro light rail system began in March 2005 and operation started in December 2008.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.