MAG News

A decade of lost revenue. Deferred construction, modernization and maintenance projects still waiting to be implemented. Those are the realities that face the MAG Transportation Policy Committee as we work to develop a new Regional Transportation Plan.

Message from the Chair, November 2019

RegionalCouncil

A decade of lost revenue. Deferred construction, modernization and maintenance projects still waiting to be implemented. Needs that are tens of billions of dollars more than projected revenues over the next 30 years—even with the passage of a half-cent sales tax extension.  

Those are the realities that face the MAG Regional Council and Transportation Policy Committee as we work to develop a new Regional Transportation Plan and determine a strategic investment and funding approach. Now, more than ever, we need to rely on the solid and transparent processes in place at MAG and work together to forge a new transportation future for the region.

Already, a few key policy questions are emerging.  How can we ensure that the highway, street and transit investments are maintained adequately in the future? Should we continue to expand the highway system if there are not funds to maintain the system in the future? What measures can we take to reduce deaths and serious injuries? How do we want to address high capacity transit in the form of light rail and bus rapid transit? How will new technology influence travel behavior, and can technology be used to increase the efficiency of our transportation system? How do we keep flexibility in the planning process to nimbly address shifting needs?

Many tough discussions—and decisions—lie ahead. Clearly, we can’t do it all. Policy makers will need to weigh trade-offs as the plan is developed. The Regional Council has expressed its commitment to carefully examining policy implications as the region seeks enabling legislation for continued regional transportation funding. 

We will need our state and federal partners to do their jobs in providing critical funding to expand and, importantly, to maintain our transportation system. The region cannot carry this burden alone.  Arizona and the federal government have not increased sustainable transportation revenues for about 30 years, even though inflation and improved fuel mileage have reduced the buying power of the gas tax. 

My hope is that we will continue to hear from all voices as we move forward. MAG will actively seek feedback from the public through visioning efforts in early 2020. I encourage residents to become involved by talking with their elected officials at the local and state levels about the need for adequate  funding for transportation. 

I am confident that working cooperatively, we will develop the best possible plan to keep our region moving.

Published October 29, 2019

About MAG

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.

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