Volunteers from SCORE’s Mesa office have joined forces with the Valley Metro Business Assistance Program to offer Mesa merchants assistance during the Light Rail Extension project that kicked off on May 30th with a groundbreaking ceremony in downtown Mesa.  In attendance were Score mentors Neil Brown and Don Finch. Neil has participated in several Metro public awareness meetings and has been working with the Business Assistance Partners project for several months. Don is looking forward to working on this project and started making contact with small business owners, affected by the LRE project, while at the groundbreaking.

Construction of the Valley’s first light rail extension to initiate in coming weeks.

PHOENIX, AZ — METRO light rail is on the move in Central Mesa.  This morning, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to commemorate the start of construction on the 3.1-mile light rail line into downtown Mesa, AZ and to rally support for the neighboring business community.

“This is a major milestone not only for Mesa but for the region,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.  “We have been waiting for this for a long time.  This expansion will create a destination that is unique in the Valley and also offers great opportunity for economic growth.”

The event marks the first construction activity and extension of the existing 20-mile light rail that runs in Phoenix, Tempe and a mile into Mesa and opened in December 2008.  The 3.1-mile Central Mesa extension will continue light rail east on Main Street from the current end-of-line at Sycamore, through downtown Mesa to Mesa Drive.  It will add four stations to the system and is expected to open in late 2015, earlier than previously scheduled.

“While we’ll build in Mesa, this project has economic and transportation benefits beyond city borders,” said Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta.  “The Central Mesa extension will provide greater connectivity for the entire East Valley and an economic boost in jobs and activity that will be felt across the region.”

A critical component to the construction plan is providing the neighboring businesses with resources, technical services and marketing to support them during construction.  METRO, alongside the City of Mesa and several business partners, has developed a comprehensive business assistance program.  One of the first roll-outs is the METRO Max Rewards program, which offers consumers savings for shopping local and with participating businesses.

Construction is set to begin in mid-June by the Central Mesa Design-Build team, Valley Transit Constructors, a Kiewit/Mass. Joint Venture.  The first phase is utility relocation.

For more information on the Central Mesa project, visit  To stay engaged with the project, email Lisa Procknow ( to be added to the email distribution list or connect on Facebook (

About METRO 

METRO is responsible for the development and operation of the region’s high-capacity transit system.  The first 20-mile light rail line opened December 2008 and served 13.2 million riders in 2011, exceeding the prior year by four percent.  METRO serves an average of 40,000 riders per weekday.  It is also planning for six extensions that will create a 57-mile system by 2031.

SCORE Volunteers Assist Downtown Mesa Small Businesses