Executive Director’s Report
As I reflect on the 2017 ‘Passing of the Gavel’ ceremony and MAG at 50 celebration, I’m reminded of the Jim Croce song, ‘Photographs and Memories.’ At this 50th anniversary celebration, I was privileged to see again many past officers of MAG’s Regional Council and former staff who truly made a difference in the lives of the people we serve. Watching the highlights of MAG’s achievements over the past 50 years on the page and on the screen, I recalled the indelible mark each one of them made on MAG.
It was a reminder to me that personal investment by prior officers and staff is what makes MAG a great organization. As was mentioned by MAG’s new chair, Mayor Jackie Meck of Buckeye, MAG’s achievements over the past 50 years would not be possible without this commitment to excellence. Elected officials in this region did not wait for the federal government or the state to resolve issues, but instead took action to make it happen. This leadership directly impacted our quality of life. While our leaders may change, MAG will always consist of a great team of elected officials working collaboratively to make this a vibrant, dynamic and attractive region.
I have been privileged to serve this organization for a long time, and have been fortunate enough to see the vision of these dedicated public servants become reality. I appreciate all of the support the members of the Management Committee and the Regional Council Executive Committee have given to make MAG one the best regional planning organizations in the country. This 50-year history is a great cornerstone from which we can build to take MAG to even greater heights. I’m confident the next 50 years will continue to set new standards in leadership and vigorously advance this region of more than four million people.
For more information, please contact Dennis Smith, MAG Executive Director, (602) 254-6300.
Meeting Report for Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Approval of Pilot Project for a Wrong-Way Vehicle Detection System on Interstate 17
Members of the Regional Council approved the use of $4 million in regional funding for a pilot project to detect and alert the public to wrong-way drivers. About $3.7 million of the funding will be used to install a thermal-detection system on Interstate 17 in Phoenix. The system will alert the wrong-way driver, as well as other drivers and law enforcement, by using flashing lights on freeway ramps, illuminated signs, and messages on overhead boards. Notifications will automatically be sent to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Traffic Operations Center and the Department of Public Safety. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) says it will be the first thermal-detection system in the United States. Seven people have died in wrong-way crashes on Arizona highways so far this year. There were two such deaths last year.
Construction of the thermal camera system is expected to begin this fall on a 15-mile stretch of I-17 from Interstate 10 to the Loop 101. ADOT staff told the committee it will take about seven months for full installation. The total funding includes the $3.7 million plus $300,000 for software. The project is included in the Draft FY 2018-2022 MAG Transportation Improvement Program.
For more information, please contact Eric Anderson, MAG Transportation Director, (602) 254-6300.
Acceptance of the Draft FY 2017 Final Phase Public Input Opportunity Report
Public input is critical to the transportation planning process. MAG conducts a four-phase public involvement process, which provides members of the public the opportunity to comment on draft transportation plans and programs prior to MAG committee action, in accordance with federal law. Members of the Regional Council accepted a summary of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Final Phase Input Opportunity Report, which included input on the Draft 2040 MAG Regional Transportation Plan, the Draft FY 2018-2022 Transportation Improvement Program Listing of Projects, the Draft FY 2017 and Working Draft FY 2018 Transit Program of Projects, and the Draft MAG 2017 Air Quality Conformity Analysis.
Outreach included a public hearing on May 9, 2017, small group presentations, and feedback received via e-mail, telephone and website communication. Comments received included requests for transit options for the northwest Valley, concerns about the timing of improvements with light rail along Interstate 17 and Camelback Road, and bus routing along Bell Road and Grand Avenue. The Final Phase Input Opportunity began on April 26, 2017, and ended on May 25, 2017. A summary of all of the comments and staff responses to comments are provided in the Final Phase Input Opportunity Report.
For more information, please contact Leila Gamiz, MAG Community Outreach Specialist II, (602) 254-6300.
Approval of the Draft FY 2018 Arterial Life Cycle Program
The Regional Council approved the Draft FY 2018 Arterial Life Cycle Program (ALCP), the financial management tool to implement arterial street projects. The ALCP provides a listing of 78 of the original 94 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) arterial projects and maintains budget oversight over the remainder of the 20-year sales tax. The ALCP is updated each year based on new revenue forecasts and updated project schedules.
In early January, MAG distributed ALCP project workbooks to each lead agency to update and/or verify their project schedules and costs. The information returned was incorporated into the Draft FY 2018-2022 MAG Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and includes proposed changes to five projects programmed in the ALCP.
Arterial street life cycle funding comes from two sources: the half-cent sales tax, also known as the Regional Area Road Fund (RARF), and federal transportation revenues. Staff noted that projected revenues are down slightly but reimbursement advancements were made for all ALCP agencies and there were no involuntary deferrals. The program surplus has decreased slightly and the balance is now $30.9 million. Staff noted that no rebalancing of the arterial program is needed at this time, as revenues will vary and the ALCP can meet the short-term demands of the program projects. The Draft FY 2018 ALCP will now be included in the Draft 2040 Regional Transportation Plan and Draft FY 2018-2022 Transportation Improvement Program.
For more information, please contact John Bullen, MAG Transportation Planner III, (602) 254-6300.
Approval of the Draft FY 2018-2022 Transportation Improvement Program
The Regional Council also approved the Draft FY 2018-2022 MAG Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP has been under development since March 2016 and includes all federally funded projects and regionally significant transportation projects in the region, regardless of funding source. The Clean Air Act Amendments require that the five-year program of projects in the TIP also undergo an air quality conformity analysis.
The TIP includes the Arterial Life Cycle Program, Transit Life Cycle Program, and Regional Transportation Plan/Freeway Program. More than 1,000 project work phases are listed, including 227 street/intersection projects, 56 bicycle/pedestrian projects, and 42 freeway/interchange projects. Also included are 28 air quality projects, 24 information technology system projects, 18 bus transit projects, and nine rail transit projects. Staff noted the TIP represents more than $5.1 billion in transportation investment over the next five years.
For more information, please contact Teri Kennedy, Transportation Improvement Program Manager, (602) 254-6300.
Approval of the Draft FY 2040 MAG Regional Transportation Plan
The Regional Council approved the Draft FY 2040 MAG Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which guides transportation investments in the region, providing a long-range blueprint that extends through fiscal year 2040. The Plan is required to maintain eligibility for federal transportation funding and must be updated at least every four years. The 1990 Federal Clean Air Act Amendments require that regional transportation plans and programs be in conformance with all applicable air quality plans.
The MAG Regional Council approved the Draft 2040 Regional Transportation Plan for air quality conformity analysis on March 29, 2017. A technical air quality conformity analysis was performed on the RTP and demonstrated that the Plan meets all air quality conformity requirements.
Staff reported that the 2040 RTP updates the current 2035 RTP, incorporates the FY 2018-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and was reviewed during the public involvement process as noted above.
The RTP includes regional plans for freeways/highways, arterial streets, public transit, as well as plans for other transportation programs in the region. In addition, the plan addresses topics such as revenue estimates, consultation on environmental mitigation and resource conservation, transportation security and safety, and congestion management. The plan will be amended in the fall to reflect Interstate 11 and State Route 30 major amendments, freeway program rebalancing, Interstate 10 and Interstate 17 ‘Spine’ study recommendations, and other program revisions.
For more information, please contact Roger Herzog, MAG Senior Project Manager, (602) 254-6300.
Election of Officers for Regional Council and Transportation Policy Committee
The MAG Annual Meeting in June included the election of officers. The Nominating Committee recommended a slate of seven candidates for the 2017-2018 Executive Committee. All were approved by the Regional Council. They include:
||Mayor Jackie Meck, City of Buckeye
||Mayor Gail Barney, Town of Queen Creek
||Mayor Lana Mook, City of El Mirage
||Mayor Mark Mitchell, City of Tempe; Mayor Jerry Weiers, City of Glendale; and Mayor John Giles, City of Mesa
||Mayor Greg Stanton, City of Phoenix
Officers are elected for one-year terms. Mayor Meck will lead the organization for the next year and will preside over the MAG Executive Committee. The Executive Committee serves as MAG’s finance committee and holds many administrative responsibilities, such as amendments to the budget and contract selections.
In addition, the Regional Council selected Avondale Mayor Kenneth Weise as the new Chair of the Transportation Policy Committee and Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels as the Vice Chair.
For more information, please contact Dennis Smith, MAG Executive Director, (602) 254-6300.
MAG Celebrates Golden Anniversary
Following the Annual Meeting, a “MAG at 50” and Passing of the Gavel celebration was held. Founded in 1967, MAG turned 50 on April 12, 2017, and the anniversary was recognized in a special event that was combined with the Passing of the Gavel celebration. Thirteen past MAG chairs were recognized at the event. To celebrate its history, MAG produced a series of videos outlining major highlights of each of MAG’s five decades. The videos are available for viewing on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/magcommunications.
During the Passing of the Gavel, outgoing chair Greg Stanton told the crowd that he was honored to have served as MAG chair during this historic year. He noted that MAG has a hand in areas that touch the lives of every one of our region’s 4.4 million residents. He addressed MAG’s success in transportation, air quality, economic development and human services. He pointed out that top achievements over the past year include a decision to add $1.25 billion to the Regional Freeway and Highway Program. This will result in more than $5 billion in new freeway and transit projects over the next decade, creating 16,000 jobs each year for 10 years. He also discussed major strides to boost exports. As chair, Mayor Stanton spearheaded two events to stimulate exports, including working with the Arizona Commerce Authority to host the first regional ExporTech boot camp to help businesses go from export-curious to export ready. The Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program spotlighted and honored 17 outstanding exporting companies in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties.
During his incoming chair message, Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck told participants a key goal for him will be to further develop a high-quality workforce in the region. He noted that MAG has been a key partner in WESTMARC’s West Valley Vision, which is examining West Valley growth. By 2050, the West Valley is expected to double, to more than three million residents. With approximately 70 percent of the West Valley’s workforce heading east to work, this effort recognizes that workforce is a critical issue for all of us. He also noted that MAG is pursuing a planning grant provided by the federal Office of Economic Adjustment to study and prepare for growth around Luke Air Force Base. Many of the world’s premier fighter pilots are trained at Luke, which brings jobs and an international reputation to the Valley.
Mayor Meck spoke about the importance of freeway connectivity and of freight traffic, noting that a result of a recent MAG budgeting effort that added more than a billion dollars to the freeway program means completion of the first phase of State Route 30. He also discussed MAG’s work to create maps that will highlight the region’s recreation areas, as well as MAG’s imminent launch of a new, redesigned website.
For more information, please contact Kelly Taft, MAG Communications Manager, (602) 254-6300.
Please note that the Regional Council will not meet in July. The next meeting of the MAG Regional Council will be held on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG offices, 302 N. 1st Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room. Agenda items are pending.