MAG's 50th Anniversary

Fifty Years of Serving the Region

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) was formed on April 12, 1967, to foster regional cooperation and address regional problems. Common areas of interest and concern to Valley cities include freeways and highways, air pollution, solid waste disposal, and water quality.

MAG touches many areas of our lives. From the roads we use, to the air we breathe, to working together to help our most vulnerable residents, MAG has been serving the region for over 50 years.

MAG's 50th Anniversary Book

Cities and towns, as well as the county, must cooperate with one another in order to solve regional problems and to maintain a semblance of local control over their own affairs.

Jack DeBolskeFormer MAG Secretary

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Regional Leadership

MAG’s legacy of excellence is built upon the leadership of numerous former and current members who have made MAG a world-class organization. No other organization brings together elected officials, business leaders and community members as effectively to address issues that touch the lives of every resident. MAG provides a forum for discussion and study of regional problems that include transportation, air quality, economic development, and meeting the human needs of the region.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Proposition 300

Approved by an overwhelming majority of voters (72 percent) in 1985, Prop 300 implemented the half-cent sales tax for transportation, enabling the construction of Loop 101. Prop 300 included funding to establish the Regional Public Transportation Authority

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Proposition 400

Approved by 58 percent of voters, Prop 400 extended the half-cent sales tax for transportation for 20 years. The plan included funding for both freeways and transit, representing the first regional funding for transit. Since MAG’s inception and in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Transportation, 181 miles of freeway have been built in the region. In addition, working with Valley Metro, the region has implemented 26 miles of light rail and 100 bus routes.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Improving Air Quality

MAG was designated by the governor in 1978 to serve as the lead Regional Air Quality Planning Agency. MAG develops air quality plans required by the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate pollution. MAG works with its member agencies and the state to implement a wide variety of control measures to address air pollution.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments


Another MAG-led program that forever changed lives in the Valley was the creation of a regional 9-1-1 system. Working with the Arizona Corporation Commission to identify funding, and with technical expertise from police and fire officials, the system went live September 9, 1985.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Human Services Planning

MAG champions many efforts aimed at strengthening communities and supporting people. These include keeping people safe from domestic violence; ensuring they have access to homeless services; and helping them stay connected with their communities at every age. Since 1999, the MAG Continuum of Care has successfully secured $374.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing and support for people experiencing homelessness. The MAG Regional Domestic Violence Council works to address domestic abuse issues and develop best practices. MAG created the Arizona Age Friendly Network to connect older adults with people of all ages to ensure meaningful opportunities to participate in their communities.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Economic Development

Following the economic tailspin of 2008, MAG created the Economic Development Committee (EDC) in 2010. With transportation a backbone for the economy, MAG recognized that it had a role to play in bringing the best minds to the table to brainstorm solutions for diversifying the economy. The EDC includes local elected officials, business, and education representatives, as well as a representative from ADOT. Initiatives have ranged from improving international trade to workforce development.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Big Data

MAG conducts extensive applied research to accomplish its core mission of strengthening the greater Phoenix region and Arizona. “Big data” refers to extremely large datasets that can be analyzed to reveal patterns in areas such as human behavior. MAG collects a wide variety of information, ranging from population and demographic information to highly detailed trends in travel behavior. MAG then analyzes the information and puts it into online, interactive, user-friendly maps that anyone can use to get important information about the region or their community.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Safety Planning

MAG conducts a transportation safety program that brings together safety professionals from throughout the state. The goal is to identify current and potential transportation safety issues, concerns and needs in the region, and find ways to address them. MAG also oversees the Regional Community Network, a vital data and information connection that helps MAG member agencies with operations ranging from traffic control to emergency police and fire calls.

Top 10 MAG Accomplishments

Public Outreach

MAG seeks to keep residents informed on regional issues and MAG initiatives, to ensure that the public has a voice in MAG plans, policies, and programs. MAG conducts targeted outreach to minority populations, people with disabilities and to people with low incomes. MAG allows for public input at all of its technical and policy committee meetings, and encourages residents to sign up for automatic delivery of our newsletters, meeting agendas, and project communications through the MAG website.

50th Anniversary Celebration and Passing of the Gavel

Photos from the Passing of the Gavel ceremony and MAG's 50th Anniversary celebration on June 28, 2017.

MAG at 50: Decade Videos

MAG at 50: 1st Decade 1967 to 1977

MAG’s first decade established the agency’s governance and many areas of regional focus, including transportation, environmental programs, public works and human services.

MAG at 50: 2nd Decade 1977 to 1987

The second decade of MAG saw major initiatives in transportation, air quality, and human services. These efforts would profoundly shape the future of the organization, as well as the entire region.

MAG at 50: 3rd Decade 1987 to 1997

MAG’s third decade included two transportation election defeats, resulting in the removal of several freeways from the Regional Transportation Plan. But the decade ended on a high note, when a fiscal analysis refined cost assumptions, putting $500 million back on the table, adding most of the deleted freeways back into the Plan and accelerating many sections by seven years

MAG at 50: 4th Decade 1997 to 2007

The fourth decade saw a leap forward in transportation progress following a major election victory and passage of Proposition 400. Along with major freeway improvements, the measure provided regional funding for transit for the first time. MAG continued air quality efforts following the passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. There were also strides in human services planning, with the formation of the Regional Domestic Violence Council.

MAG at 50: 5th Decade 2007 to 2017

Economic uncertainty in MAG’s fifth decade led to the creation of the Economic Development Committee to look at ways transportation infrastructure can be linked to economic development. Major initiatives included improving international trade and collaborating with the public and private sectors to develop strategies to further economic development. A 2017 rebalancing effort put $1.25 billion back into the Regional Freeway and Highway program.

MAG at 50, decade 1

MAG at 50: 1st Decade 1967 to 1977

MAG at 50, decade 2

MAG at 50: 2nd Decade 1977 to 1987

MAG at 50, decade 3

MAG at 50: 3rd Decade 1987 to 1997

MAG at 50, decade 4

MAG at 50: 4th Decade 1987 to 1997


MAG at 50: 5th Decade 2007 to 2017

MAG Celebrates Golden Anniversary

MAGAZine's five-part series covering the five decades of MAG and the major milestones.