PHOENIX -- Longtime Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) received a big "thank you" for his dedication to transportation issues in Arizona over the course of his career on Thursday.
"You have left your mark on this city more than anyone else that has ever served us in Washington, D.C.," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton who was joined by Valley Metro, the American Public Transportation Association and other community leaders.
The APTA presented Pastor with its 2014 American Public Transportation Association Award on the platform of the light rail stop at Central Avenue and Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix for the work Pastor has done over his career. He played an integral part in secure grants that helped bring light rail to the Valley.
"It is fair to say that Phoenix wouldn't be Phoenix -- the things that we love, the things that we're advancing on in our economy -- we wouldn't be able to do it without the service of Ed Pastor," Stanton said. "We wouldn't have this great light rail system if weren't for you. It simply would not have happened."
The funding secured by Pastor helped paved the way for the 20-mile starter light rail line that now services about 45,000 riders a day and has helped created $7 billion in economic development since its construction began in 2004, according to Valley Metro.
"The number of jobs, the number of people that are going to put food on their tables at home because of the jobs they received working on those great infrastructure jobs," Stanton said.
Stanton also praised Pastor's work on other issues and projects during his tenure including environmental protection and the addition of Sky Harbor's control tower. Pastor spoke at the event and said his entire career is owed to those that supported him.
"Whatever has been accomplished in my tenure in Congress has been because of you," he said. "So I thank you for your support."
Pastor announced in February his retirement from Congress after serving in the House for 23 years. He became the first Hispanic from Arizona to be elected to Congress when he was voted in on Sept. 24, 1991.