Mayor John Giles, City of Mesa, Chair February 15, 2017, Meeting Summary
Message From the Chair
At our February meeting, we continued to roll up our sleeves as work continues to maximize the delivery of approximately $5 billion dollars in Regional Freeway and Highway Program projects over the next 10 years. In October, the TPC had the opportunity to recommend approval of key projects to receive funding under the rebalancing effort. Now comes the even harder task: figuring out the sequencing and scheduling of both the remaining funded Proposition 400 projects and the projects being brought back into the program under the proposed $907 million dollar rebalancing effort.
This is a careful, complex and deliberative process. Funded Proposition 400 projects and recommended rebalancing projects are competing for the same Regional Highway Program cash flow. Scheduling projects strategically is key to minimizing cost and construction inconveniences to the motoring public. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is working with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to examine different project scenarios. Over the next few months, the agencies will work to identify possibilities for delivering additional projects and/or resequencing construction to enhance the program. Once defined, MAG staff will provide that information to the TPC for consideration.
As we continue this rebalancing process, we look forward to your continued engagement as MAG staff and member agencies get all of the TPC adopted projects in line for funding. Timely consideration of all the options will pay off in better service delivery to our residents and in turn, a stronger regional economy.
Mayor John Giles TPC Chair
TPC Meeting Summary
Regional Freeway and Highway Program – 2016 Rebalancing
As noted above, MAG staff provided committee members an update on the rebalancing of the estimated $908 million dollars in newly available funds in the Regional Freeway and Highway Program. Since the last update provided at the November 30, 2016, meeting, MAG staff has met extensively with member agencies and ADOT to strategize cash flow in sequencing and scheduling the funded and rebalancing projects, all of which are in the Regional Transportation Plan.
Projects programmed include the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway project, which is currently under construction and is the largest project to date. Investment for the South Mountain Freeway is $1.8 billion, while projects yet to be completed total approximately $3.1 billion. Staff has identified the correct sequencing for applying the project surplus and is scheduling more than 25 freeway projects starting construction in 2019. Planning efforts continue as the program’s cash flow is under study and pre-construction activities are reviewed to identify the appropriate scheduling for the Regional Freeway and Highway Program. The rebalancing effort is expected to be concluded this summer.
Results of the Proposition 400 Performance Audit
Final approval steps required by the 2016 Performance Audit of the MAG Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) have now been completed. As required by state law, a public hearing on the audit findings and recommendations was held by MAG on January 4, 2017. Twelve recommendations to improve the oversight and management of the program were forwarded to the RTP partner agencies, of which four apply to MAG. Action on the recommendations was taken by the Boards of Valley Metro and Valley Metro Rail, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the State Transportation Board and the Citizens Transportation Oversight Committee.
Proposition 400 requires a performance audit of the program to be conducted every five years, beginning in 2010, by the Auditor General of Arizona. The audit examined practices, expenditures and programs implemented by MAG, Valley Metro and ADOT during the five-year period between fiscal years 2010/2011 and 2014/2015, as well as planned activities for fiscal years 2015/2016 through 2019/2020. The audit report includes very positive results related to performance measurement, project management and delivery. The complete report is available online at: http://www.azauditor.gov.
At the federal level, there has been significant discussion on infrastructure financing that includes extensive use of public/private partnerships and financing techniques. Fifty high priority transportation projects have been submitted to the federal government by the National Governors Association, but as yet no funding has been program has been announced. The President’s budget is anticipated on February 28 and should be a good indicator of the future of infrastructure funding and the federal transit program.
Bills moving through the state legislature include one that will eliminate a number of boards and commissions, one of which is the Citizens Transportation Oversight Committee. Another bill of note is Senate Bill (SB) 1270, which provides for Maricopa County to extend the half-cent sales tax for transportation; SB 1147, which gives the Board of Supervisors the option to ask voters for an increase in the fuel tax up to 10 cents per gallon; SB 1146, which imposes fees on alternative fuel vehicles; and SB 1149, which would allow creation of transportation investment zones to capture increases in property values.
The MAG Offices are located at 302 N.1st Avenue, Phoenix. Meeting rooms are on the second floor. All meetings are subject to change.
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