Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 26, 2007


Host: Matthew Whitaker

Arziona's Climate Change Part four


  • Environmental public interest organization Valley Forward is holding a half-day Livability Summit on Friday, April 27. The event will spotlight ways business and industry can help reduce greenhouse gases, and it will facilitate meaningful public dialogue on challenges to building a sustainable future.
Guests:
  • Wes Gullett - Political Analyst and a volunteer on Senator John McCain’s Arizona campaign
  • Rick Simonetta - CEO, Metro Light Rail
  • Diane Brossart - President, Valley Forward
Category: Environment

View Transcript
Matthew Whitaker:
Tonight on "Horizon," he's been campaigning for months. Now Arizona Senator John McCain makes his presidential campaign official. We'll talk about his candidacy.

Matthew Whitaker:
A light rail car moves under its own power for first time this week for testing. Get a light rail update.

Matthew Whitaker:
And we'll tell about you climate change. That's up next on "Horizon."

Matthew Whitaker:
Good evening, and welcome to "horizon." I'm Matthew Whitaker.

Matthew Whitaker:
In the news tonight, an initiative is being launched to get rid of government affirmative action programs in Arizona. The effort is led by Ward Connerly, an African-American who has successfully led anti-affirmative action measures in three other states. He hopes to place the Arizona civil rights initiative on the November 2008 ballot. Supporters need just over 230,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Matthew Whitaker:
Another Arizona soldier has been killed in Iraq. The military released names of nine soldiers killed Monday. Among them was 32-year-old sergeant Bruce Pearson of phoenix.

Matthew Whitaker :
Is Arizona republican senator john McCain's presidential bid in trouble? Here in Arizona, he has lost ground in the latest Cronkite 8 poll. But he may still be showing strong in key early primary states. Mccain's fund-raising has suffered and he has made some missteps. Yesterday he officially announced his bid for president. Now here to talk about the campaign is Wes Gullett, a political analyst who is a volunteer on McCain's Arizona campaign. He also is a former staffer for senator McCain as well. Thank you for joining us.

Wes Gullett:
You bet. Good to be here.

Matthew Whitaker:
Much has been said in the last couple days about senator McCain's momentum and how he's been slipping in the polls. Can you comment on that?

Wes Gullett:
I think actually the news is always a little behind the times when it comes to presidential primary campaigns. We think everything is going very well right now. John's announcement in New Hampshire got good reviews from around the country. Our polling numbers show that we're doing very well in New Hampshire, very well in Iowa. Very well in South Carolina. And then when you go to the February 5 states, we're holding our own in most of those. Mayor Giuliani is a popular national figure, his numbers are driven by the national polls. But john's doing very well.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And he's also behind in fund-raising. Has that impaired his momentum 3 at all?

Wes Gullett:
I was involved in the 2000 campaign, and we would have loved to have $13 million in the first quarter. This time we didn't meet our targets. They were I think a little inflated. We didn't do as well as governor Romney and mayor Giuliani, but we did very well and we have enough money to carry on the campaign, and we're raising money quickly now.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. Now, is polling better in early primary states like New Hampshire?

Wes Gullett:
Yes. We're ahead in New Hampshire. We're ahead in South Carolina. And in Iowa where john skipped the campaign in 2000, he's neck and neck with Giuliani, and we have a very good organization that we announced yesterday in Iowa, I don't know is going to be there tomorrow. It is -- we're doing very, very well there.

Matthew Whitaker:
So if this momentum continues, do you anticipate us having a different conversation in the moment -- in the months to come?

Wes Gullett:
I sure hope so. I think the way this campaign is laying out, January is going to be an important time. It's not very far away. The nice thing about senator McCain's campaign this time is we're very well organized in the key early states. John's been there before, and in presidential campaigns, it really takes two times. Have you to be in the race a couple of times to be effective. 4 and that history shows us that, and as a historian I'm sure you know that yourself. But what history shows us is that people who have gone through the process before do a much better than people just doing it for the first time.

Matthew Whitaker:
He certainly has the experience. He's 70 years old, is his age going to play a factor?

Wes Gullett:
Yes, it is. Because he's the most experienced man in the race. Assists John McCain -- I've known John for 20 years, and he is the absolute most fit 60-year-old that I know. So he is full of energy and ready to go. And has the experience, 24 years in congress, he has seen this country through tough and good times, and knows how to deal with Washington and has the experience in both military and in politics to be an extraordinary leader for our country.

Matthew Whitaker:
He certainly has a tremendous amount of experience. Is he hurt by the republican primary process? Many folks have said that he has been compelled or forced to move farther to the right. He's moved more to the right because of necessity. Can you comment on that? Does that hurt him this, early republican primary process?

Wes Gullett:
John has been a conservative member of the congress for 24 years. He has been a conservative on abortion, he's been a conservative on fiscal policy, he's been a conservative on our foreign policy. He is a conservative candidate. John McCain, though, is a maverick. He has taken positions that aren't necessarily positions for conservatives. And that gives him an interesting -- makes him an interesting candidate with interesting perspectives. Talk -- you're going to talk about global warming. John McCain has been on the forefront of warning us about global warming. And those kinds of issues make him a maverick. But today in the Republican Party to get -- win the primary have you to be a conservative and John is the most conservative candidate of the front-runners.

Matthew Whitaker:
Speaking of issues, he's been very outspoken on immigration in particular, but we haven't heard much about that thus far in the campaign. Is there a particular reason why we haven't heard about that?

Wes Gullett:
Well, the immigration debate is moving around. When the democrats won the congress this last election, things changed and they felt emboldened and they've been negotiating hard on immigration reform. And I think in the next couple weeks we're going to hear about an immigration package that the president is going to support, and that many conservative republicans are going to support, and moderates and moderate democrats are going to support. Because we have to deal with immigration on a federal level. And John has been one of the 6 leaders on that.

Matthew Whitaker:
Much of has been said about a few missteps that he's made recently, the bomb song with Iran, etc. Can you comment on that? Are these just isolated incidents, or has he been getting sort of bad advice? What do you attribute these things to and what impact do you think they'll have?

Wes Gullett:
The one thing about John McCain, he likes to use humor. And humor is -- has got him through his life. He's had pretty interesting life. And so he uses humor a lot. When you use humor, some people don't like it, some people do like it, some people are offended, some people are not offended. But I will tell you, the thing about john is, he's going to speak his mind, he's going to say what he thinks. And people are going to be critical of it because he's going to speak his mind.

Matthew Whitaker:
What about his insistence on maintaining troops in Iraq? Does this hurt him or help him?

Wes Gullett:
From a political perspective, it's inconsequential to John McCain. Because John McCain believes that we need to win the war in Iraq. And if his political candidacy is going to be hurt by that, he is ok with that. Because he believes that America needs to win the war. Because if we don't win the war, they're going to bring the war to us. So right now we're fighting it in Iraq, and if we lose, we'll be fighting it in New York city, in Chicago, in Phoenix. And his preference is not to have that happen. And if that hurts his campaign, he's ok with that.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And one final question, one of his strengths historically, you've mentioned this, has been his maverickness, if that's a word. But some have argued he's sort of losing some of that now. If that's the case, is that the case, the first part of the question, and if it is, what are his strengths now? Or is that an inaccurate assessment?

Wes Gullett:
I think his position on the war is a maverick position. It would be easy to say, let's pull out of Iraq. Let's do what the American public thinks. Let's disengage and set a time line that. Would be the easy thing to do. But what he's trying to do is what's right for America in his view. So that's being a maverick. I've known John McCain for 20 years, I've worked for him for a long time, and there's not a day goes by that he's not a maverick.

Matthew Whitaker:
Right now what westbound done to rejuvenate his campaign?

Wes Gullett:
I think you're seeing it. I think it's beginning. I think his announcement tour through the early states is going to be very important. It's going to get people fired up. We're having a big rally here in Tempe on Saturday, it's going to be 3:00 right at city hall. Hope everybody comes out to see it. John's going to be fired up and I think we're going to have a great crowd and everybody is going to be fired up too. And that is going to -- it's not necessarily going to rejuvenate the campaign because I don't think the campaign I -- I think the campaign is on schedule. But people are fired up and people are going to be very supportive, and I think we'll have an interesting conversation on February 6.

Matthew Whitaker:
Wes, thank you very much for joining on us "Horizon." take care.

Matthew Whitaker:
The valley's $1.4 billion light rail system was put to the test this week. Metro light rail's C.E.O. will join me to talk about that test in just a moment. But first, David Majure shows us what happened when Arizona's largest electric train was powered up.

David Majure:
It didn't move very fast. And it wasn't picking up passengers. But Tuesday, April 24, the power was on and the metro was off, riding the rails in phoenix.

Marty McNeil:
Today we're conducting our first live wire test of a light rail vehicle. First time a vehicle has traveled under its own power on a street in phoenix. We've electrified the overhead lines and the engineers are walking alongside the vehicle very slowly to check all the systems. It's mostly an electrical test, but also it's a great opportunity for the engineers to check clearances and to just get a feel for how the system is performing.

David Majure:
Metro light rail's Marty McNeil says the test should serve as a warning.

Marty McNeil:
I think probably what's important for people to know is they should consider the tracks now electrified and active. We'll be out here for the next nine months testing vehicles. So if you drive along this section of Washington street, you'll see us. This is a perfect area for the test track on Washington street here between 44th and 56th, because it's a very straight piece of track, and it allows us the opportunity later this week, we hope, to take the vehicle up to 55 miles an hour.

David Majure:
It won't normally go quite that fast. The train less travel at posted speed limits when they start moving people.

Marty McNeil:
The maximum capacity after light rail vehicle is 200 people. That's a pretty tight fit. It seats 66. So whether we hook three vehicles together into a train, maximum capacity is 600 people.

David Majure:
Metro light rail starter line will be 20 miles long, snaking its way through phoenix, Tempe, and mesa. It's expected to open at the end of 2008.

Matthew Whitaker:
Joining me to talk about the test is metro light rail's C.E.O. Rick Simonetta. Thank you very much for joining us.

Rick Simonetta:
Great to be with you.

Matthew Whitaker:
What did you learn from the test?

Rick Simonetta:
We're going to be testing for is just where it should be. And that the cars are taking the power and distributing it through all the different motors and equipment on the car. And actually tonight we're going to be doing the dynamic testing. So we're going to be doing not the low speed, but the high-speed testing.

Matthew Whitaker:
You're going to be doing high-speed test. What's the purpose of that?

Rick Simonetta: We have to really break in a number of systems on the cars. It's all part of what is called safety certification for the entire system. And it will be an ongoing process for about the next 18 months. But in terms of the cars, we really have to find out if they're capable of doing the kinds of speeds that our specifications call for, if the braking meets or specifications, if all the other safety features are in place, and we'll be doing this for many, many hours on each of the cars to make sure that they're all just perfect before we start carrying passengers.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And will you be testing three cars linked together?

Rick Simonetta:
No. We're actually going to be testing each car. The certification calls for each car to go through the dynamic testing because each car has its own set of systems. Later on when we start to do what's called prerevenue service testing, we'll start hooking two 11 and three cars together, but that won't be dynamic.

Matthew Whitaker:
What other types of tests do you have coming up?

Rick Simonetta:
We're going to be doing the same thing to all of the cars. They're being assembled at our maintenance facility off Washington street. We already have 19 cars out of our total order of 50. So we're really make great progress, and as each of those cars is completed, we'll do some testing in our yard, on a slow-speed basis, and once those cars meet all the slow-speed test requirements, we'll take them out on to the dynamic high-speed test track.

Matthew Whitaker:
The initial 20 miles of the track is scheduled to open at the end of 2008. But what is the general route that's going to follow?

Rick Simonetta:
From the north end it's going to start at spectrum mall, on 19th avenue and Montebello south of Bethany Home. The route will travel south on 19th avenue, then it will turn east on camelback, it will turn south on central avenue, come right down through the heart of downtown phoenix, past the U.S. Airways arena, and past the ball field, and then it will head out toward Tempe. The test track of course is right out in that area between phoenix and Tempe. We'll cross the Tempe town lake bridge on a very spectacular bridge that has a lighting feature to it that we tested some time ago during the holiday season at Tempe. Then it will run through downtown Tempe right through the heart of A.S.U., get out on peach boulevard and head into mesa. So it's a very long and complex project.

Matthew Whitaker:
How much of that remains to be completed?

Rick Simonetta:
We're about 50\% completed. And we're on schedule and on budget. We've got about 20 miles of rail already laid. And our contractors are -- now that the utility work is wrapping up, they're in a position to do a lot of track laying.

Matthew Whitaker:
So what are the next anticipated Majure milestones in this project?

Rick Simonetta:
Dynamic testing certainly is a Majure one. And then it's going to be a matter of trying to open up more sections of the test track. Ultimately the mile and a quarter test track will become a 20-mile test track so we essentially make sure that everything on all 20 miles is working well. And the expansion will take place essentially from where the test track is in both directions, both east and west. So over the course of the next several months, we'll start to see some really good progress in those parts of the alignment.

Matthew Whitaker:
Over the next -- the course of the next 20 years, there's an anticipated initial 37 miles of track?

Rick Simonetta:
That's correct. The adopted regional transportation plan calls for 57 miles of light rail. So we're building the first 20 now, and by 2025 we're supposed to have all 57 miles. So we're already in the planning stages for the other extensions, and those will be coming on board starting in 2012

Matthew Whitaker:
Do you know where those will be? Where the routes will be?

Rick Simonetta:
We do. The plan at least has a conceptual lay-out for where the alignments would be. But part of the planning is to the final alignment and better define the technology. So there will be a line continuing north on 19th avenue, there will be a line out I-10 west, there will be a line to Glendale, there will be a line into downtown mesa. There will be a branch into downtown -- into south Tempe and a line that goes up into the paradise valley mall area of phoenix.

Matthew Whitaker:
We're talking about a pretty comprehensive plan in terms of the long-term --

Rick Simonetta:
That's probably not the end of it. There's a lot of discussion going on about what the infrastructure needs are in transportation, really for the entire state and certainly for the phoenix region. So I suspect we're going to probably see some even more ambitious plans over the years develop.

Matthew Whitaker:
There's a been any thought to building along a freeway?

Rick Simonetta:
We actually have one line that will be in the median of i-10 going west. And how far west it ultimately goes you can hardly say, but at first it's going to go to about the 80th or 81st avenue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And how do you build -- how do you build light rail along a freeway? We have about 30 seconds left.

Rick Simonetta:
We're hoping it's in the median. The median right now doesn't have any utilities. It's adequate in terms of its dimensions. And it's a great location to be. It becomes a lot simpler doing it there than in the middle of central avenue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Rick Simonetta, thank you very much for joining us. Exciting news.

Matthew Whitaker:
This week we have been talking about the effects of climate changes and global warming. We have looked at the politics of -- and science behind issues as well as what people can do about it. A conference put on tomorrow by valley forward a. Nonprofit environmental public interest group l. Focus on the topic of climate change, causes, effects, and solutions. The event will spotlight ways business and industry can help reduce greenhouse gasses. Conference organizers also recently conducted a survey revealing 65\% of valley residents see global warming as a big or moderate threat. Earlier I spoke with the president about the event and their survey.

Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you for joining this evening on "Horizon."

Diane Brossart:
Thank you for having me.

Matthew Whitaker:
The first and foremost, can you tell us, who is valley forward?

Diane Brossart:
Valley Forward is a nonprofit organization, it's been in the valley for 38 years. 15 and the focus is environmental and sustainability issues. How do we make the place we call home a better place to live and make sure it's going to be that way for our kids and our kids' kids.

Matthew Whitaker:
Is the livability summit an annual event, and do the topics change from year to year?

Diane Brossart:
It is an annual event. This is our fourth program we're putting on this. This year's focus is climate change. The topic does change. The thing that's consistent is the focus on sustainability and livability-type issues. How do we make our communities healthy.

Matthew Whitaker:
So why climate change this year?

Diane Brossart:
I think that's one of the hot eggs topics going right now. You can't turn on the T.V. or open the newspaper without hearing about it. It's an important issue and impacts all of us globally, so we wanted to focus on that and educate people about the topic.

Matthew Whitaker:
Can you tell us more, give us more specifics about the event and who some of the speakers are?

Diane Brossart:
The livability submit is tomorrow. It goes from -- summit is tomorrow. We have a full roster of internationally recognized speakers, including our over governor Napolitano. Along with David Victor, who is a professor at Stanford University and expert on climate change issues. Terry Tammie, the advisor to governor Schwarzenegger. He's a total expert on the subject, and is working with mayors and public sector representatives throughout the country and these types of issues. Joel Catkin a Futurist who is calling for North American alliance on energy. And Susan Rolf a green building expert and professor visiting professor at A.S.U. Steve Owens, the director of the Arizona department of environmental quality.

Matthew Whitaker:
Wonderful. Wonderful. Where is it going to be?

Diane Brossart:
It's at the phoenix convention center

Matthew Whitaker:
Is it free and open to the public?

Diane Brossart There is a fee, there's a breakfast and lunch and you can get reservations by calling 602-2 fore on you-2408. At this point probably we'll just see you at the door.

Matthew Whitaker:
Valley forward played a role in bringing al gore to campus recently. Can you tell us about the role or what you did to help that happen?

Diane Brossart:
We were really pleased to partner with A.S.U. to bring al gore to the valley to do his inconvenient truth presentation. And our livability summit is a local follow-up to that presentation. Our role was just to help build awareness of the issue.

Matthew Whitaker:
What do you hope to accomplish?

Diane Brossart:
We did a survey recently that showed 65\% of the population in the valley thinks climate change is a big issue. We know it's an issue globally, our local residents here think 17 it's an issue as well, surprisingly of that a much smaller percentage, only 6\%, thought it was the number one issue. They felt that air quality was the number one environmental issue facing the valley. But because we live in a desert environment in Arizona, we're probably more -- need to be more aware of these issues and we have the propensity for prolonged drought and other issues as a result of that.

Matthew Whitaker:
So people do, given your survey, people do think global warming is a threat, then, generally speaking.

Diane Brossart:
Definitely they think it's a threat. We can all do something, we can all play a role in mitigating the impact of greenhouse gases. 77\% of those greenhouse gas emissions in the valley are related to transportation and driving here, I'll tell you, I felt the impacts of that. So we need to start thinking of alternative ways to live.

Matthew Whitaker:
What other results from your survey jump out at you that you'd like to comment on?

Diane Brossart:
I think generally there's is a concern about global warming, and it was either a serious concern or moderate concern. But either way, people are interested in the issue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Very, very important issues. Thank you very much for joining us.

Diane Brossart:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Lawmakers are working on a state budget. How far have they gotten? Senator John McCain is running for republican nomination for president. And the legislature gives final approval to a proposal prohibiting people from public streets and sidewalks for the purpose of offering or soliciting day labor work.The journalists' round table Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you very much for joining us this evening on "Horizon." We wish you all a very wonderful evening.

Light Rail Update


  • METRO light rail CEO Rick Simonetta updates us on the Valley’s regional light rail system construction.
Guests:
  • Wes Gullett - Political Analyst and a volunteer on Senator John McCain’s Arizona campaign
  • Rick Simonetta - CEO, Metro Light Rail
  • Diane Brossart - President, Valley Forward


View Transcript
Matthew Whitaker:
Tonight on "Horizon," he's been campaigning for months. Now Arizona Senator John McCain makes his presidential campaign official. We'll talk about his candidacy.

Matthew Whitaker:
A light rail car moves under its own power for first time this week for testing. Get a light rail update.

Matthew Whitaker:
And we'll tell about you climate change. That's up next on "Horizon."

Matthew Whitaker:
Good evening, and welcome to "horizon." I'm Matthew Whitaker.

Matthew Whitaker:
In the news tonight, an initiative is being launched to get rid of government affirmative action programs in Arizona. The effort is led by Ward Connerly, an African-American who has successfully led anti-affirmative action measures in three other states. He hopes to place the Arizona civil rights initiative on the November 2008 ballot. Supporters need just over 230,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Matthew Whitaker:
Another Arizona soldier has been killed in Iraq. The military released names of nine soldiers killed Monday. Among them was 32-year-old sergeant Bruce Pearson of phoenix.

Matthew Whitaker :
Is Arizona republican senator john McCain's presidential bid in trouble? Here in Arizona, he has lost ground in the latest Cronkite 8 poll. But he may still be showing strong in key early primary states. Mccain's fund-raising has suffered and he has made some missteps. Yesterday he officially announced his bid for president. Now here to talk about the campaign is Wes Gullett, a political analyst who is a volunteer on McCain's Arizona campaign. He also is a former staffer for senator McCain as well. Thank you for joining us.

Wes Gullett:
You bet. Good to be here.

Matthew Whitaker:
Much has been said in the last couple days about senator McCain's momentum and how he's been slipping in the polls. Can you comment on that?

Wes Gullett:
I think actually the news is always a little behind the times when it comes to presidential primary campaigns. We think everything is going very well right now. John's announcement in New Hampshire got good reviews from around the country. Our polling numbers show that we're doing very well in New Hampshire, very well in Iowa. Very well in South Carolina. And then when you go to the February 5 states, we're holding our own in most of those. Mayor Giuliani is a popular national figure, his numbers are driven by the national polls. But john's doing very well.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And he's also behind in fund-raising. Has that impaired his momentum 3 at all?

Wes Gullett:
I was involved in the 2000 campaign, and we would have loved to have $13 million in the first quarter. This time we didn't meet our targets. They were I think a little inflated. We didn't do as well as governor Romney and mayor Giuliani, but we did very well and we have enough money to carry on the campaign, and we're raising money quickly now.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. Now, is polling better in early primary states like New Hampshire?

Wes Gullett:
Yes. We're ahead in New Hampshire. We're ahead in South Carolina. And in Iowa where john skipped the campaign in 2000, he's neck and neck with Giuliani, and we have a very good organization that we announced yesterday in Iowa, I don't know is going to be there tomorrow. It is -- we're doing very, very well there.

Matthew Whitaker:
So if this momentum continues, do you anticipate us having a different conversation in the moment -- in the months to come?

Wes Gullett:
I sure hope so. I think the way this campaign is laying out, January is going to be an important time. It's not very far away. The nice thing about senator McCain's campaign this time is we're very well organized in the key early states. John's been there before, and in presidential campaigns, it really takes two times. Have you to be in the race a couple of times to be effective. 4 and that history shows us that, and as a historian I'm sure you know that yourself. But what history shows us is that people who have gone through the process before do a much better than people just doing it for the first time.

Matthew Whitaker:
He certainly has the experience. He's 70 years old, is his age going to play a factor?

Wes Gullett:
Yes, it is. Because he's the most experienced man in the race. Assists John McCain -- I've known John for 20 years, and he is the absolute most fit 60-year-old that I know. So he is full of energy and ready to go. And has the experience, 24 years in congress, he has seen this country through tough and good times, and knows how to deal with Washington and has the experience in both military and in politics to be an extraordinary leader for our country.

Matthew Whitaker:
He certainly has a tremendous amount of experience. Is he hurt by the republican primary process? Many folks have said that he has been compelled or forced to move farther to the right. He's moved more to the right because of necessity. Can you comment on that? Does that hurt him this, early republican primary process?

Wes Gullett:
John has been a conservative member of the congress for 24 years. He has been a conservative on abortion, he's been a conservative on fiscal policy, he's been a conservative on our foreign policy. He is a conservative candidate. John McCain, though, is a maverick. He has taken positions that aren't necessarily positions for conservatives. And that gives him an interesting -- makes him an interesting candidate with interesting perspectives. Talk -- you're going to talk about global warming. John McCain has been on the forefront of warning us about global warming. And those kinds of issues make him a maverick. But today in the Republican Party to get -- win the primary have you to be a conservative and John is the most conservative candidate of the front-runners.

Matthew Whitaker:
Speaking of issues, he's been very outspoken on immigration in particular, but we haven't heard much about that thus far in the campaign. Is there a particular reason why we haven't heard about that?

Wes Gullett:
Well, the immigration debate is moving around. When the democrats won the congress this last election, things changed and they felt emboldened and they've been negotiating hard on immigration reform. And I think in the next couple weeks we're going to hear about an immigration package that the president is going to support, and that many conservative republicans are going to support, and moderates and moderate democrats are going to support. Because we have to deal with immigration on a federal level. And John has been one of the 6 leaders on that.

Matthew Whitaker:
Much of has been said about a few missteps that he's made recently, the bomb song with Iran, etc. Can you comment on that? Are these just isolated incidents, or has he been getting sort of bad advice? What do you attribute these things to and what impact do you think they'll have?

Wes Gullett:
The one thing about John McCain, he likes to use humor. And humor is -- has got him through his life. He's had pretty interesting life. And so he uses humor a lot. When you use humor, some people don't like it, some people do like it, some people are offended, some people are not offended. But I will tell you, the thing about john is, he's going to speak his mind, he's going to say what he thinks. And people are going to be critical of it because he's going to speak his mind.

Matthew Whitaker:
What about his insistence on maintaining troops in Iraq? Does this hurt him or help him?

Wes Gullett:
From a political perspective, it's inconsequential to John McCain. Because John McCain believes that we need to win the war in Iraq. And if his political candidacy is going to be hurt by that, he is ok with that. Because he believes that America needs to win the war. Because if we don't win the war, they're going to bring the war to us. So right now we're fighting it in Iraq, and if we lose, we'll be fighting it in New York city, in Chicago, in Phoenix. And his preference is not to have that happen. And if that hurts his campaign, he's ok with that.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And one final question, one of his strengths historically, you've mentioned this, has been his maverickness, if that's a word. But some have argued he's sort of losing some of that now. If that's the case, is that the case, the first part of the question, and if it is, what are his strengths now? Or is that an inaccurate assessment?

Wes Gullett:
I think his position on the war is a maverick position. It would be easy to say, let's pull out of Iraq. Let's do what the American public thinks. Let's disengage and set a time line that. Would be the easy thing to do. But what he's trying to do is what's right for America in his view. So that's being a maverick. I've known John McCain for 20 years, I've worked for him for a long time, and there's not a day goes by that he's not a maverick.

Matthew Whitaker:
Right now what westbound done to rejuvenate his campaign?

Wes Gullett:
I think you're seeing it. I think it's beginning. I think his announcement tour through the early states is going to be very important. It's going to get people fired up. We're having a big rally here in Tempe on Saturday, it's going to be 3:00 right at city hall. Hope everybody comes out to see it. John's going to be fired up and I think we're going to have a great crowd and everybody is going to be fired up too. And that is going to -- it's not necessarily going to rejuvenate the campaign because I don't think the campaign I -- I think the campaign is on schedule. But people are fired up and people are going to be very supportive, and I think we'll have an interesting conversation on February 6.

Matthew Whitaker:
Wes, thank you very much for joining on us "Horizon." take care.

Matthew Whitaker:
The valley's $1.4 billion light rail system was put to the test this week. Metro light rail's C.E.O. will join me to talk about that test in just a moment. But first, David Majure shows us what happened when Arizona's largest electric train was powered up.

David Majure:
It didn't move very fast. And it wasn't picking up passengers. But Tuesday, April 24, the power was on and the metro was off, riding the rails in phoenix.

Marty McNeil:
Today we're conducting our first live wire test of a light rail vehicle. First time a vehicle has traveled under its own power on a street in phoenix. We've electrified the overhead lines and the engineers are walking alongside the vehicle very slowly to check all the systems. It's mostly an electrical test, but also it's a great opportunity for the engineers to check clearances and to just get a feel for how the system is performing.

David Majure:
Metro light rail's Marty McNeil says the test should serve as a warning.

Marty McNeil:
I think probably what's important for people to know is they should consider the tracks now electrified and active. We'll be out here for the next nine months testing vehicles. So if you drive along this section of Washington street, you'll see us. This is a perfect area for the test track on Washington street here between 44th and 56th, because it's a very straight piece of track, and it allows us the opportunity later this week, we hope, to take the vehicle up to 55 miles an hour.

David Majure:
It won't normally go quite that fast. The train less travel at posted speed limits when they start moving people.

Marty McNeil:
The maximum capacity after light rail vehicle is 200 people. That's a pretty tight fit. It seats 66. So whether we hook three vehicles together into a train, maximum capacity is 600 people.

David Majure:
Metro light rail starter line will be 20 miles long, snaking its way through phoenix, Tempe, and mesa. It's expected to open at the end of 2008.

Matthew Whitaker:
Joining me to talk about the test is metro light rail's C.E.O. Rick Simonetta. Thank you very much for joining us.

Rick Simonetta:
Great to be with you.

Matthew Whitaker:
What did you learn from the test?

Rick Simonetta:
We're going to be testing for is just where it should be. And that the cars are taking the power and distributing it through all the different motors and equipment on the car. And actually tonight we're going to be doing the dynamic testing. So we're going to be doing not the low speed, but the high-speed testing.

Matthew Whitaker:
You're going to be doing high-speed test. What's the purpose of that?

Rick Simonetta: We have to really break in a number of systems on the cars. It's all part of what is called safety certification for the entire system. And it will be an ongoing process for about the next 18 months. But in terms of the cars, we really have to find out if they're capable of doing the kinds of speeds that our specifications call for, if the braking meets or specifications, if all the other safety features are in place, and we'll be doing this for many, many hours on each of the cars to make sure that they're all just perfect before we start carrying passengers.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And will you be testing three cars linked together?

Rick Simonetta:
No. We're actually going to be testing each car. The certification calls for each car to go through the dynamic testing because each car has its own set of systems. Later on when we start to do what's called prerevenue service testing, we'll start hooking two 11 and three cars together, but that won't be dynamic.

Matthew Whitaker:
What other types of tests do you have coming up?

Rick Simonetta:
We're going to be doing the same thing to all of the cars. They're being assembled at our maintenance facility off Washington street. We already have 19 cars out of our total order of 50. So we're really make great progress, and as each of those cars is completed, we'll do some testing in our yard, on a slow-speed basis, and once those cars meet all the slow-speed test requirements, we'll take them out on to the dynamic high-speed test track.

Matthew Whitaker:
The initial 20 miles of the track is scheduled to open at the end of 2008. But what is the general route that's going to follow?

Rick Simonetta:
From the north end it's going to start at spectrum mall, on 19th avenue and Montebello south of Bethany Home. The route will travel south on 19th avenue, then it will turn east on camelback, it will turn south on central avenue, come right down through the heart of downtown phoenix, past the U.S. Airways arena, and past the ball field, and then it will head out toward Tempe. The test track of course is right out in that area between phoenix and Tempe. We'll cross the Tempe town lake bridge on a very spectacular bridge that has a lighting feature to it that we tested some time ago during the holiday season at Tempe. Then it will run through downtown Tempe right through the heart of A.S.U., get out on peach boulevard and head into mesa. So it's a very long and complex project.

Matthew Whitaker:
How much of that remains to be completed?

Rick Simonetta:
We're about 50\% completed. And we're on schedule and on budget. We've got about 20 miles of rail already laid. And our contractors are -- now that the utility work is wrapping up, they're in a position to do a lot of track laying.

Matthew Whitaker:
So what are the next anticipated Majure milestones in this project?

Rick Simonetta:
Dynamic testing certainly is a Majure one. And then it's going to be a matter of trying to open up more sections of the test track. Ultimately the mile and a quarter test track will become a 20-mile test track so we essentially make sure that everything on all 20 miles is working well. And the expansion will take place essentially from where the test track is in both directions, both east and west. So over the course of the next several months, we'll start to see some really good progress in those parts of the alignment.

Matthew Whitaker:
Over the next -- the course of the next 20 years, there's an anticipated initial 37 miles of track?

Rick Simonetta:
That's correct. The adopted regional transportation plan calls for 57 miles of light rail. So we're building the first 20 now, and by 2025 we're supposed to have all 57 miles. So we're already in the planning stages for the other extensions, and those will be coming on board starting in 2012

Matthew Whitaker:
Do you know where those will be? Where the routes will be?

Rick Simonetta:
We do. The plan at least has a conceptual lay-out for where the alignments would be. But part of the planning is to the final alignment and better define the technology. So there will be a line continuing north on 19th avenue, there will be a line out I-10 west, there will be a line to Glendale, there will be a line into downtown mesa. There will be a branch into downtown -- into south Tempe and a line that goes up into the paradise valley mall area of phoenix.

Matthew Whitaker:
We're talking about a pretty comprehensive plan in terms of the long-term --

Rick Simonetta:
That's probably not the end of it. There's a lot of discussion going on about what the infrastructure needs are in transportation, really for the entire state and certainly for the phoenix region. So I suspect we're going to probably see some even more ambitious plans over the years develop.

Matthew Whitaker:
There's a been any thought to building along a freeway?

Rick Simonetta:
We actually have one line that will be in the median of i-10 going west. And how far west it ultimately goes you can hardly say, but at first it's going to go to about the 80th or 81st avenue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And how do you build -- how do you build light rail along a freeway? We have about 30 seconds left.

Rick Simonetta:
We're hoping it's in the median. The median right now doesn't have any utilities. It's adequate in terms of its dimensions. And it's a great location to be. It becomes a lot simpler doing it there than in the middle of central avenue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Rick Simonetta, thank you very much for joining us. Exciting news.

Matthew Whitaker:
This week we have been talking about the effects of climate changes and global warming. We have looked at the politics of -- and science behind issues as well as what people can do about it. A conference put on tomorrow by valley forward a. Nonprofit environmental public interest group l. Focus on the topic of climate change, causes, effects, and solutions. The event will spotlight ways business and industry can help reduce greenhouse gasses. Conference organizers also recently conducted a survey revealing 65\% of valley residents see global warming as a big or moderate threat. Earlier I spoke with the president about the event and their survey.

Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you for joining this evening on "Horizon."

Diane Brossart:
Thank you for having me.

Matthew Whitaker:
The first and foremost, can you tell us, who is valley forward?

Diane Brossart:
Valley Forward is a nonprofit organization, it's been in the valley for 38 years. 15 and the focus is environmental and sustainability issues. How do we make the place we call home a better place to live and make sure it's going to be that way for our kids and our kids' kids.

Matthew Whitaker:
Is the livability summit an annual event, and do the topics change from year to year?

Diane Brossart:
It is an annual event. This is our fourth program we're putting on this. This year's focus is climate change. The topic does change. The thing that's consistent is the focus on sustainability and livability-type issues. How do we make our communities healthy.

Matthew Whitaker:
So why climate change this year?

Diane Brossart:
I think that's one of the hot eggs topics going right now. You can't turn on the T.V. or open the newspaper without hearing about it. It's an important issue and impacts all of us globally, so we wanted to focus on that and educate people about the topic.

Matthew Whitaker:
Can you tell us more, give us more specifics about the event and who some of the speakers are?

Diane Brossart:
The livability submit is tomorrow. It goes from -- summit is tomorrow. We have a full roster of internationally recognized speakers, including our over governor Napolitano. Along with David Victor, who is a professor at Stanford University and expert on climate change issues. Terry Tammie, the advisor to governor Schwarzenegger. He's a total expert on the subject, and is working with mayors and public sector representatives throughout the country and these types of issues. Joel Catkin a Futurist who is calling for North American alliance on energy. And Susan Rolf a green building expert and professor visiting professor at A.S.U. Steve Owens, the director of the Arizona department of environmental quality.

Matthew Whitaker:
Wonderful. Wonderful. Where is it going to be?

Diane Brossart:
It's at the phoenix convention center

Matthew Whitaker:
Is it free and open to the public?

Diane Brossart There is a fee, there's a breakfast and lunch and you can get reservations by calling 602-2 fore on you-2408. At this point probably we'll just see you at the door.

Matthew Whitaker:
Valley forward played a role in bringing al gore to campus recently. Can you tell us about the role or what you did to help that happen?

Diane Brossart:
We were really pleased to partner with A.S.U. to bring al gore to the valley to do his inconvenient truth presentation. And our livability summit is a local follow-up to that presentation. Our role was just to help build awareness of the issue.

Matthew Whitaker:
What do you hope to accomplish?

Diane Brossart:
We did a survey recently that showed 65\% of the population in the valley thinks climate change is a big issue. We know it's an issue globally, our local residents here think 17 it's an issue as well, surprisingly of that a much smaller percentage, only 6\%, thought it was the number one issue. They felt that air quality was the number one environmental issue facing the valley. But because we live in a desert environment in Arizona, we're probably more -- need to be more aware of these issues and we have the propensity for prolonged drought and other issues as a result of that.

Matthew Whitaker:
So people do, given your survey, people do think global warming is a threat, then, generally speaking.

Diane Brossart:
Definitely they think it's a threat. We can all do something, we can all play a role in mitigating the impact of greenhouse gases. 77\% of those greenhouse gas emissions in the valley are related to transportation and driving here, I'll tell you, I felt the impacts of that. So we need to start thinking of alternative ways to live.

Matthew Whitaker:
What other results from your survey jump out at you that you'd like to comment on?

Diane Brossart:
I think generally there's is a concern about global warming, and it was either a serious concern or moderate concern. But either way, people are interested in the issue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Very, very important issues. Thank you very much for joining us.

Diane Brossart:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Lawmakers are working on a state budget. How far have they gotten? Senator John McCain is running for republican nomination for president. And the legislature gives final approval to a proposal prohibiting people from public streets and sidewalks for the purpose of offering or soliciting day labor work.The journalists' round table Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you very much for joining us this evening on "Horizon." We wish you all a very wonderful evening.

McCain Candidacy


  • Although he's been campaigning for months, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain officially announced his campaign for president this week. We'll talk to Wes Gullett of the McCain campaign about McCain's candidacy and the problems it's experienced lately.
Guests:
  • Wes Gullett - Political Analyst and a volunteer on Senator John McCain’s Arizona campaign
  • Rick Simonetta - CEO, Metro Light Rail
  • Diane Brossart - President, Valley Forward
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Matthew Whitaker:
Tonight on "Horizon," he's been campaigning for months. Now Arizona Senator John McCain makes his presidential campaign official. We'll talk about his candidacy.

Matthew Whitaker:
A light rail car moves under its own power for first time this week for testing. Get a light rail update.

Matthew Whitaker:
And we'll tell about you climate change. That's up next on "Horizon."

Matthew Whitaker:
Good evening, and welcome to "horizon." I'm Matthew Whitaker.

Matthew Whitaker:
In the news tonight, an initiative is being launched to get rid of government affirmative action programs in Arizona. The effort is led by Ward Connerly, an African-American who has successfully led anti-affirmative action measures in three other states. He hopes to place the Arizona civil rights initiative on the November 2008 ballot. Supporters need just over 230,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Matthew Whitaker:
Another Arizona soldier has been killed in Iraq. The military released names of nine soldiers killed Monday. Among them was 32-year-old sergeant Bruce Pearson of phoenix.

Matthew Whitaker :
Is Arizona republican senator john McCain's presidential bid in trouble? Here in Arizona, he has lost ground in the latest Cronkite 8 poll. But he may still be showing strong in key early primary states. Mccain's fund-raising has suffered and he has made some missteps. Yesterday he officially announced his bid for president. Now here to talk about the campaign is Wes Gullett, a political analyst who is a volunteer on McCain's Arizona campaign. He also is a former staffer for senator McCain as well. Thank you for joining us.

Wes Gullett:
You bet. Good to be here.

Matthew Whitaker:
Much has been said in the last couple days about senator McCain's momentum and how he's been slipping in the polls. Can you comment on that?

Wes Gullett:
I think actually the news is always a little behind the times when it comes to presidential primary campaigns. We think everything is going very well right now. John's announcement in New Hampshire got good reviews from around the country. Our polling numbers show that we're doing very well in New Hampshire, very well in Iowa. Very well in South Carolina. And then when you go to the February 5 states, we're holding our own in most of those. Mayor Giuliani is a popular national figure, his numbers are driven by the national polls. But john's doing very well.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And he's also behind in fund-raising. Has that impaired his momentum 3 at all?

Wes Gullett:
I was involved in the 2000 campaign, and we would have loved to have $13 million in the first quarter. This time we didn't meet our targets. They were I think a little inflated. We didn't do as well as governor Romney and mayor Giuliani, but we did very well and we have enough money to carry on the campaign, and we're raising money quickly now.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. Now, is polling better in early primary states like New Hampshire?

Wes Gullett:
Yes. We're ahead in New Hampshire. We're ahead in South Carolina. And in Iowa where john skipped the campaign in 2000, he's neck and neck with Giuliani, and we have a very good organization that we announced yesterday in Iowa, I don't know is going to be there tomorrow. It is -- we're doing very, very well there.

Matthew Whitaker:
So if this momentum continues, do you anticipate us having a different conversation in the moment -- in the months to come?

Wes Gullett:
I sure hope so. I think the way this campaign is laying out, January is going to be an important time. It's not very far away. The nice thing about senator McCain's campaign this time is we're very well organized in the key early states. John's been there before, and in presidential campaigns, it really takes two times. Have you to be in the race a couple of times to be effective. 4 and that history shows us that, and as a historian I'm sure you know that yourself. But what history shows us is that people who have gone through the process before do a much better than people just doing it for the first time.

Matthew Whitaker:
He certainly has the experience. He's 70 years old, is his age going to play a factor?

Wes Gullett:
Yes, it is. Because he's the most experienced man in the race. Assists John McCain -- I've known John for 20 years, and he is the absolute most fit 60-year-old that I know. So he is full of energy and ready to go. And has the experience, 24 years in congress, he has seen this country through tough and good times, and knows how to deal with Washington and has the experience in both military and in politics to be an extraordinary leader for our country.

Matthew Whitaker:
He certainly has a tremendous amount of experience. Is he hurt by the republican primary process? Many folks have said that he has been compelled or forced to move farther to the right. He's moved more to the right because of necessity. Can you comment on that? Does that hurt him this, early republican primary process?

Wes Gullett:
John has been a conservative member of the congress for 24 years. He has been a conservative on abortion, he's been a conservative on fiscal policy, he's been a conservative on our foreign policy. He is a conservative candidate. John McCain, though, is a maverick. He has taken positions that aren't necessarily positions for conservatives. And that gives him an interesting -- makes him an interesting candidate with interesting perspectives. Talk -- you're going to talk about global warming. John McCain has been on the forefront of warning us about global warming. And those kinds of issues make him a maverick. But today in the Republican Party to get -- win the primary have you to be a conservative and John is the most conservative candidate of the front-runners.

Matthew Whitaker:
Speaking of issues, he's been very outspoken on immigration in particular, but we haven't heard much about that thus far in the campaign. Is there a particular reason why we haven't heard about that?

Wes Gullett:
Well, the immigration debate is moving around. When the democrats won the congress this last election, things changed and they felt emboldened and they've been negotiating hard on immigration reform. And I think in the next couple weeks we're going to hear about an immigration package that the president is going to support, and that many conservative republicans are going to support, and moderates and moderate democrats are going to support. Because we have to deal with immigration on a federal level. And John has been one of the 6 leaders on that.

Matthew Whitaker:
Much of has been said about a few missteps that he's made recently, the bomb song with Iran, etc. Can you comment on that? Are these just isolated incidents, or has he been getting sort of bad advice? What do you attribute these things to and what impact do you think they'll have?

Wes Gullett:
The one thing about John McCain, he likes to use humor. And humor is -- has got him through his life. He's had pretty interesting life. And so he uses humor a lot. When you use humor, some people don't like it, some people do like it, some people are offended, some people are not offended. But I will tell you, the thing about john is, he's going to speak his mind, he's going to say what he thinks. And people are going to be critical of it because he's going to speak his mind.

Matthew Whitaker:
What about his insistence on maintaining troops in Iraq? Does this hurt him or help him?

Wes Gullett:
From a political perspective, it's inconsequential to John McCain. Because John McCain believes that we need to win the war in Iraq. And if his political candidacy is going to be hurt by that, he is ok with that. Because he believes that America needs to win the war. Because if we don't win the war, they're going to bring the war to us. So right now we're fighting it in Iraq, and if we lose, we'll be fighting it in New York city, in Chicago, in Phoenix. And his preference is not to have that happen. And if that hurts his campaign, he's ok with that.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And one final question, one of his strengths historically, you've mentioned this, has been his maverickness, if that's a word. But some have argued he's sort of losing some of that now. If that's the case, is that the case, the first part of the question, and if it is, what are his strengths now? Or is that an inaccurate assessment?

Wes Gullett:
I think his position on the war is a maverick position. It would be easy to say, let's pull out of Iraq. Let's do what the American public thinks. Let's disengage and set a time line that. Would be the easy thing to do. But what he's trying to do is what's right for America in his view. So that's being a maverick. I've known John McCain for 20 years, I've worked for him for a long time, and there's not a day goes by that he's not a maverick.

Matthew Whitaker:
Right now what westbound done to rejuvenate his campaign?

Wes Gullett:
I think you're seeing it. I think it's beginning. I think his announcement tour through the early states is going to be very important. It's going to get people fired up. We're having a big rally here in Tempe on Saturday, it's going to be 3:00 right at city hall. Hope everybody comes out to see it. John's going to be fired up and I think we're going to have a great crowd and everybody is going to be fired up too. And that is going to -- it's not necessarily going to rejuvenate the campaign because I don't think the campaign I -- I think the campaign is on schedule. But people are fired up and people are going to be very supportive, and I think we'll have an interesting conversation on February 6.

Matthew Whitaker:
Wes, thank you very much for joining on us "Horizon." take care.

Matthew Whitaker:
The valley's $1.4 billion light rail system was put to the test this week. Metro light rail's C.E.O. will join me to talk about that test in just a moment. But first, David Majure shows us what happened when Arizona's largest electric train was powered up.

David Majure:
It didn't move very fast. And it wasn't picking up passengers. But Tuesday, April 24, the power was on and the metro was off, riding the rails in phoenix.

Marty McNeil:
Today we're conducting our first live wire test of a light rail vehicle. First time a vehicle has traveled under its own power on a street in phoenix. We've electrified the overhead lines and the engineers are walking alongside the vehicle very slowly to check all the systems. It's mostly an electrical test, but also it's a great opportunity for the engineers to check clearances and to just get a feel for how the system is performing.

David Majure:
Metro light rail's Marty McNeil says the test should serve as a warning.

Marty McNeil:
I think probably what's important for people to know is they should consider the tracks now electrified and active. We'll be out here for the next nine months testing vehicles. So if you drive along this section of Washington street, you'll see us. This is a perfect area for the test track on Washington street here between 44th and 56th, because it's a very straight piece of track, and it allows us the opportunity later this week, we hope, to take the vehicle up to 55 miles an hour.

David Majure:
It won't normally go quite that fast. The train less travel at posted speed limits when they start moving people.

Marty McNeil:
The maximum capacity after light rail vehicle is 200 people. That's a pretty tight fit. It seats 66. So whether we hook three vehicles together into a train, maximum capacity is 600 people.

David Majure:
Metro light rail starter line will be 20 miles long, snaking its way through phoenix, Tempe, and mesa. It's expected to open at the end of 2008.

Matthew Whitaker:
Joining me to talk about the test is metro light rail's C.E.O. Rick Simonetta. Thank you very much for joining us.

Rick Simonetta:
Great to be with you.

Matthew Whitaker:
What did you learn from the test?

Rick Simonetta:
We're going to be testing for is just where it should be. And that the cars are taking the power and distributing it through all the different motors and equipment on the car. And actually tonight we're going to be doing the dynamic testing. So we're going to be doing not the low speed, but the high-speed testing.

Matthew Whitaker:
You're going to be doing high-speed test. What's the purpose of that?

Rick Simonetta: We have to really break in a number of systems on the cars. It's all part of what is called safety certification for the entire system. And it will be an ongoing process for about the next 18 months. But in terms of the cars, we really have to find out if they're capable of doing the kinds of speeds that our specifications call for, if the braking meets or specifications, if all the other safety features are in place, and we'll be doing this for many, many hours on each of the cars to make sure that they're all just perfect before we start carrying passengers.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And will you be testing three cars linked together?

Rick Simonetta:
No. We're actually going to be testing each car. The certification calls for each car to go through the dynamic testing because each car has its own set of systems. Later on when we start to do what's called prerevenue service testing, we'll start hooking two 11 and three cars together, but that won't be dynamic.

Matthew Whitaker:
What other types of tests do you have coming up?

Rick Simonetta:
We're going to be doing the same thing to all of the cars. They're being assembled at our maintenance facility off Washington street. We already have 19 cars out of our total order of 50. So we're really make great progress, and as each of those cars is completed, we'll do some testing in our yard, on a slow-speed basis, and once those cars meet all the slow-speed test requirements, we'll take them out on to the dynamic high-speed test track.

Matthew Whitaker:
The initial 20 miles of the track is scheduled to open at the end of 2008. But what is the general route that's going to follow?

Rick Simonetta:
From the north end it's going to start at spectrum mall, on 19th avenue and Montebello south of Bethany Home. The route will travel south on 19th avenue, then it will turn east on camelback, it will turn south on central avenue, come right down through the heart of downtown phoenix, past the U.S. Airways arena, and past the ball field, and then it will head out toward Tempe. The test track of course is right out in that area between phoenix and Tempe. We'll cross the Tempe town lake bridge on a very spectacular bridge that has a lighting feature to it that we tested some time ago during the holiday season at Tempe. Then it will run through downtown Tempe right through the heart of A.S.U., get out on peach boulevard and head into mesa. So it's a very long and complex project.

Matthew Whitaker:
How much of that remains to be completed?

Rick Simonetta:
We're about 50\% completed. And we're on schedule and on budget. We've got about 20 miles of rail already laid. And our contractors are -- now that the utility work is wrapping up, they're in a position to do a lot of track laying.

Matthew Whitaker:
So what are the next anticipated Majure milestones in this project?

Rick Simonetta:
Dynamic testing certainly is a Majure one. And then it's going to be a matter of trying to open up more sections of the test track. Ultimately the mile and a quarter test track will become a 20-mile test track so we essentially make sure that everything on all 20 miles is working well. And the expansion will take place essentially from where the test track is in both directions, both east and west. So over the course of the next several months, we'll start to see some really good progress in those parts of the alignment.

Matthew Whitaker:
Over the next -- the course of the next 20 years, there's an anticipated initial 37 miles of track?

Rick Simonetta:
That's correct. The adopted regional transportation plan calls for 57 miles of light rail. So we're building the first 20 now, and by 2025 we're supposed to have all 57 miles. So we're already in the planning stages for the other extensions, and those will be coming on board starting in 2012

Matthew Whitaker:
Do you know where those will be? Where the routes will be?

Rick Simonetta:
We do. The plan at least has a conceptual lay-out for where the alignments would be. But part of the planning is to the final alignment and better define the technology. So there will be a line continuing north on 19th avenue, there will be a line out I-10 west, there will be a line to Glendale, there will be a line into downtown mesa. There will be a branch into downtown -- into south Tempe and a line that goes up into the paradise valley mall area of phoenix.

Matthew Whitaker:
We're talking about a pretty comprehensive plan in terms of the long-term --

Rick Simonetta:
That's probably not the end of it. There's a lot of discussion going on about what the infrastructure needs are in transportation, really for the entire state and certainly for the phoenix region. So I suspect we're going to probably see some even more ambitious plans over the years develop.

Matthew Whitaker:
There's a been any thought to building along a freeway?

Rick Simonetta:
We actually have one line that will be in the median of i-10 going west. And how far west it ultimately goes you can hardly say, but at first it's going to go to about the 80th or 81st avenue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Ok. And how do you build -- how do you build light rail along a freeway? We have about 30 seconds left.

Rick Simonetta:
We're hoping it's in the median. The median right now doesn't have any utilities. It's adequate in terms of its dimensions. And it's a great location to be. It becomes a lot simpler doing it there than in the middle of central avenue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Rick Simonetta, thank you very much for joining us. Exciting news.

Matthew Whitaker:
This week we have been talking about the effects of climate changes and global warming. We have looked at the politics of -- and science behind issues as well as what people can do about it. A conference put on tomorrow by valley forward a. Nonprofit environmental public interest group l. Focus on the topic of climate change, causes, effects, and solutions. The event will spotlight ways business and industry can help reduce greenhouse gasses. Conference organizers also recently conducted a survey revealing 65\% of valley residents see global warming as a big or moderate threat. Earlier I spoke with the president about the event and their survey.

Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you for joining this evening on "Horizon."

Diane Brossart:
Thank you for having me.

Matthew Whitaker:
The first and foremost, can you tell us, who is valley forward?

Diane Brossart:
Valley Forward is a nonprofit organization, it's been in the valley for 38 years. 15 and the focus is environmental and sustainability issues. How do we make the place we call home a better place to live and make sure it's going to be that way for our kids and our kids' kids.

Matthew Whitaker:
Is the livability summit an annual event, and do the topics change from year to year?

Diane Brossart:
It is an annual event. This is our fourth program we're putting on this. This year's focus is climate change. The topic does change. The thing that's consistent is the focus on sustainability and livability-type issues. How do we make our communities healthy.

Matthew Whitaker:
So why climate change this year?

Diane Brossart:
I think that's one of the hot eggs topics going right now. You can't turn on the T.V. or open the newspaper without hearing about it. It's an important issue and impacts all of us globally, so we wanted to focus on that and educate people about the topic.

Matthew Whitaker:
Can you tell us more, give us more specifics about the event and who some of the speakers are?

Diane Brossart:
The livability submit is tomorrow. It goes from -- summit is tomorrow. We have a full roster of internationally recognized speakers, including our over governor Napolitano. Along with David Victor, who is a professor at Stanford University and expert on climate change issues. Terry Tammie, the advisor to governor Schwarzenegger. He's a total expert on the subject, and is working with mayors and public sector representatives throughout the country and these types of issues. Joel Catkin a Futurist who is calling for North American alliance on energy. And Susan Rolf a green building expert and professor visiting professor at A.S.U. Steve Owens, the director of the Arizona department of environmental quality.

Matthew Whitaker:
Wonderful. Wonderful. Where is it going to be?

Diane Brossart:
It's at the phoenix convention center

Matthew Whitaker:
Is it free and open to the public?

Diane Brossart There is a fee, there's a breakfast and lunch and you can get reservations by calling 602-2 fore on you-2408. At this point probably we'll just see you at the door.

Matthew Whitaker:
Valley forward played a role in bringing al gore to campus recently. Can you tell us about the role or what you did to help that happen?

Diane Brossart:
We were really pleased to partner with A.S.U. to bring al gore to the valley to do his inconvenient truth presentation. And our livability summit is a local follow-up to that presentation. Our role was just to help build awareness of the issue.

Matthew Whitaker:
What do you hope to accomplish?

Diane Brossart:
We did a survey recently that showed 65\% of the population in the valley thinks climate change is a big issue. We know it's an issue globally, our local residents here think 17 it's an issue as well, surprisingly of that a much smaller percentage, only 6\%, thought it was the number one issue. They felt that air quality was the number one environmental issue facing the valley. But because we live in a desert environment in Arizona, we're probably more -- need to be more aware of these issues and we have the propensity for prolonged drought and other issues as a result of that.

Matthew Whitaker:
So people do, given your survey, people do think global warming is a threat, then, generally speaking.

Diane Brossart:
Definitely they think it's a threat. We can all do something, we can all play a role in mitigating the impact of greenhouse gases. 77\% of those greenhouse gas emissions in the valley are related to transportation and driving here, I'll tell you, I felt the impacts of that. So we need to start thinking of alternative ways to live.

Matthew Whitaker:
What other results from your survey jump out at you that you'd like to comment on?

Diane Brossart:
I think generally there's is a concern about global warming, and it was either a serious concern or moderate concern. But either way, people are interested in the issue.

Matthew Whitaker:
Very, very important issues. Thank you very much for joining us.

Diane Brossart:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Lawmakers are working on a state budget. How far have they gotten? Senator John McCain is running for republican nomination for president. And the legislature gives final approval to a proposal prohibiting people from public streets and sidewalks for the purpose of offering or soliciting day labor work.The journalists' round table Friday at 7:00 on "Horizon."

Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you very much for joining us this evening on "Horizon." We wish you all a very wonderful evening.

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