The Phoenix metro area started actively seeking light rail funding in the mid 1990s. Two local successful votes (Tempe in 1996 and Phoenix in 2000) helped paved the way, followed by a successful Maricopa county-wide vote in 2004:
September 1996: Tempe voters approve a permanent half-cent sales tax dedicated to transit. Major investment study initiated for the 20-mile light rail starter line.
March 2000: Phoenix voters approve a four-tenths cent sales tax increase to fund transit over 20 years.
November 2004: Maricopa County voters pass Proposition 400, which provides funding for additional transportation improvements Valleywide, including 27.7 miles of light rail extensions to the planned system.
Latest milestone of Phoenix's light rail system:
October 2011: METRO experiences its highest ridership month on record serving more than 1.25 million riders, resulting in an average of 45,000 daily. City of Phoenix and METRO receives a $1 million federal grant to conduct an Alternatives Analysis on the South Central Phoenix corridor.