Life in Mesa > Transportation
Mesa, a city on the move
By Dolores Tropiano
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport:
Allegiant Airlines offers affordable and convenient flights to America’s favorite small cities including Telluride, Colo. and Honolulu. Hawaii.
Frontier Airlines is a low-cost airline with nonstop flights to Denver, connecting you to 76 destinations in the United States.
Spirit Airlines is a low-cost carrier that offers nonstop service to Dallas, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Denver, Colo. with continuous service to other destinations.
Mesa is the 38th largest city in the country and in recent years has acquired big-city bragging rights.
The Mesa Arts Center and numerous museums have created cultural offerings downtown. Plans are underway for a $99 million Chicago Cubs stadium and complex and a Center for Higher Education featuring two legacy colleges and universities. Now, driven by a forward-thinking leadership team, the city is revving up its strategy for an expanded transportation system.
“Whether it’s the airport or the light rail you’re talking about, there are a couple of things at play here,” said Bill Jabjiniak, Mesa’s economic development director.
“First, there is great vision going on the elective level. Having a city council focused and going in one direction doesn’t happen often. And we have great leadership with the mayor, who has a very regional and statewide vision.”
With 446,000 people in a 136-square-mile area, the city got on board when the METRO light rail proposal initially came to town. The track ends at Dobson Road but a $200 million extension of 3.1 miles will take travelers through downtown to Mesa Drive by 2016, and potentially extend 1.9 miles to Gilbert Road. Mesa has allocated $370,000 towards extending its bus system to employment centers in the East Valley.
The city is also setting its sights higher for the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, named 2012 Airport of the Year.
The airport, one of the fastest growing in the country, has service on Allegiant and Spirit Airlines. Now, adding Frontier Airlines with non-stop services to Denver, Mesa has gone global reaching national and international cities.
The airport recently added on 30,000-square-feet of space and two more gates and the city will put $65 million into the new Gateway Freeway, which will run from the Loop 202 to Ellsworth Road and eventually Florence.
“We decided to truly think of ourselves as a large metropolitan area and any metropolitan area has a multitude of transportation options,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.