Getting There: Mystery that led to Con Rail resolved - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Getting There: Mystery that led to Con Rail resolved

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Posted: Saturday, February 7, 2009 7:55 pm | Updated: 12:50 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his deputies needed a parking pass for pick-ups of extradited suspects at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

But airport officials said the sheriff’s office had been issued a pass.

Turns out, Sky Harbor determined, they were both right.

You may remember the dust-up two weeks ago, after Arpaio declared parking problems at the airport would be solved by having deputies transport suspects via light rail.

“Con Rail, now boarding at the 44th Street and Washington station…”

Two days later, the airport gave the sheriff’s office four passes, and that was good enough for Arpaio. Con Rail was shelved after all of two suspect transports.

But Sky Harbor wanted to get to the bottom of what had happened. Spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez said the airport tracked the parking pass given to MCSO and saw it was still in use — by the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Years ago, Rodriguez said, the card designated for Arpaio’s deputies got mislabeled, mislaid, mishandled or just went missing — and the state’s prison people somehow got it.

Case closed.

Rodriguez also explained what parking pass-less MCSO deputies must do to pick up a suspect.

Yes, they can park at the facility used by Phoenix police — but that’s a separate building on the airport’s west side, away from the terminals. In addition, the deputies would have to call ahead.

Phoenix police can drive the deputies to the terminals and fetch them, but that, too, requires advance notice.

Sounds like a waste of time and personnel. I’m glad this could be solved cheaply.

Now, if I can only lose the fear of Cyrus “The Virus,” John Malkovich’s creepy character from the 1997 action flick “Con Air,” sitting next to me on the train.

Light rail hours expand for All-Star Game

Metro light rail is expanding its service hours next weekend for the activities related to the National Basketball Association All-Star Game.

On the nights of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Metro will offer the last trip eastbound and westbound from downtown Phoenix at 1 a.m.

“This is a rare opportunity for the region. Metro will do all it can to encourage the use of public transportation to these exciting events,” Metro CEO Rick Simonetta said.

Service frequency will not change. Passengers can expect 10-minute service on weekdays and 15-minute service on weekends between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. After 7 p.m., Metro arrives every 20 minutes through the end of service, weeknights or weekends.

The NBA’s showcase event will be Sunday night at the U.S. Airways Center.

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