The city of Phoenix celebrated the dawning of the new year by beginning normal, paying service on its shiny new light rail line. The current 20-mile segment runs from north of central Phoenix through the city into Tempe and Mesa. If current plans are realized, an extension to the line will be completed by 2012, and a full(ish) network will begin to take shape over the following decade.
The light rail line is part of a wave of transit construction that’s bringing transit systems to a new generation of booming cities, among them is Charlotte, N.C. One of the brightest economic lights in the new urban south, Charlotte has enjoyed rapid population growth in recent decades, leading to congestion and, in the 1990s, calls for transit planning. Thanks to Grist for pointing up a topic that has gone quiet in transporation and land use planning.