Mayor John Giles, City of Mesa May 17, 2017, Meeting Summary
Message From the Chair
As we begin the discussion on the future of our transportation system, I'm reminded of just how many people it takes to make a difference. Back in 1960, Wilbur Smith and Associates worked with 10 local planners and engineers to complete the street and highway plan for Phoenix, which contained the major elements of the regional freeway system we drive on today. Then in 1985, a task force of five mayors from Maricopa County worked out a plan to fund the freeway system by going out for the first regional transportation tax. In 2003, another small group of mayors established the Transportation Policy Committee and laid the foundation for Proposition 400 to extend and expand the scope of the tax. I'm confident that members of the TPC can come together again to make a difference in the mobility and quality of life for people around the region.
An extension of Proposition 400 is needed to continue to expand and improve the region's transportation infrastructure. But there are key policy decisions to be made before a request to extend the tax goes to the voters. When should the plan go on the ballot? The current tax expires in December of 2025, and determining the appropriate election cycle will set the timetable for everything else. We also need to carefully consider the amount of the tax, how long it will run, whether to keep the emphasis on regional projects, and finding the right balance between freeways, transit and streets. There are many more projects than available funding can support. Our job is to create a plan that addresses all parts of the region and the transportation values of the public in order to be successful at the ballot box.
MAG Transportation Director Eric Anderson stated that $9 billion dollars will be collected from Proposition 400. That's a significant amount of money the public is trusting will be put to the best use for the region. We want to continue to be good stewards of taxpayer money to keep our vibrant economic growth and high quality of life. I'm confident this committee will work together to make the best decisions for the region's transportation future.
Mayor John Giles TPC Chair
TPC Meeting Summary
Acceptance of I-10/I-17 Corridor Master Plan Recommendations
The Interstate 10/Interstate 17 corridor is known as the “Spine”; it's the backbone of the region's transportation system, with more than 40 percent of all freeway traffic using a portion of it every day. TPC members moved forward the final recommendations to the I-10/I-17 corridor master plan, which will improve travel flows by minimizing impact to adjacent properties and businesses, and establishing the shortest construction schedules possible.
The main recommendations of the corridor master plan include: improving safety by modernizing design; adding a minimum of one lane in each direction; expanding the managed capacity along I-10, from I-17 to US-60 and on I-17, from the I-10 split to Loop 101; improving or reconstructing 24 of the 31 traffic interchanges; adding five direct High Occupancy Vehicle ramps and new interchanges, and enhancing bicycle/pedestrian connections at 20 locations, including nine new structures.
Proposition 400 Extension Policy Questions
What will our transportation system look like in the future? As noted above, MAG Transportation Director Eric Anderson began to frame the policy discussion for TPC members on strategically extending the funding for a high performing transportation system that benefits the entire region.
Proposition 300, passed by the voters in October 1985, and Proposition 400, passed in November 2004, have provided key funding for the current system. With Proposition 400 expiring in December of 2025, and nearly $25 billion dollars in projects over the next 20 years, Director Anderson told the committee it's time to consider an extension that will expand and improve the region's transportation infrastructure.
Director Anderson stated there are four key policy decisions that need to be made before a request to extend the tax is put before the voters. The first is to determine the amount and length of the tax. Should we continue the ½ cent tax for the next 20 years? The second is whether to keep the same emphasis on regional projects with regional benefits. The third question involves deciding the timetable for going to the voters and determining which election cycle will offer the best chance of a favorable outcome. The earlier the vote, the more certainty it provides for the overall transportation program. And finally, Proposition 400 funding is allocated to three main areas: freeways, transit and arterial streets, with freeways receiving more than half. The TPC will need to decide if this division of resources is the right balance for the future.
Also important in the process, said Director Anderson, is completing technical studies; garnering public input on needs and transportation values through focus groups and opinion surveys; considering the impact of technology; and engaging stakeholders in the business community and civic groups and determining possible changes in legislation.
*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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