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Phoenix voters by a wide margin were turning down a measure that would limit the future of light rail in the nation's fifth largest city, early returns from a special election showed Tuesday.
Nearly two-thirds of early, unofficial ballots counted so far show voters speaking out for mass transit by rejecting the measure known as Proposition 105, which aims to halt all planned light rail expansion inside city limits.
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The results so far are mostly from mail-in ballots and represent about 22.5% of the city's 764,653 registered voters. More returns were expected later in the evening.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego celebrated the early returns showing a margin of nearly 2-1 against the measure.
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"Light rail expansion is not stopping — not today, not tomorrow," Gallego said. "This campaign was never about one track of rail. It was about equity for our entire city and voters delivered on that promise."
Approval of Proposition 105 would immediately stop a planned 5.5-mile (8.85-kilometer) extension of the rail into the working-class Hispanic and African American communities of south Phoenix, home to numerous auto repair shops and Mexican markets.
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It also would stop future extensions designed to link far-flung areas around the Valley of the Sun, including one planned to the state Capitol and another to far western suburbs, home to many people who commute to the city's center for jobs and school.
"We're on pins and needles because we have no idea what the final results will show," said Susan Gudino, who was gathering at a Mexican restaurant to await early returns with other backers of the "Yes on 105" effort launched by a group called Building a Better Phoenix.
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Gudino, 42, said a light rail extension would harm small businesses and change the character of south Phoenix, where she has lived most of her life. "It really would change everything," she...
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