This year continues to shape up as a pivotal one for MAG. Since my appointment as chair in June, we have made major strides in giving voters the power to shape their transportation future through the extension of Proposition 400. In late July, after years of regional planning and months of bipartisan negotiations, the Arizona State Legislature passed a bill that will allow Maricopa County voters to extend the dedicated half-cent sales tax for transportation. The transportation tax has funded critical infrastructure in Maricopa County – roads, freeways, bridges, and transit systems – for 40 years, fueling economic momentum and freedom of mobility in the region. Voters will now have the power to renew critical funding to provide the infrastructure needed for the fastest-growing county in the nation, including improved and expanded transit services. The Proposition 400 extension would provide nearly $15 billion in transportation investments over 20 years and support a $28 billion investment program that received unanimous support by the Transportation Policy Committee and MAG Regional Council. The plan includes significant investments in expanded regional transit services like Valley Metro Light Rail and our bus system, arterial streets, new transportation technologies, safety projects, and completion of key interstate and freeway projects. Under the bill passed by the Legislature, the allocation of funding includes 40.5 percent for freeways, 22.5 percent for arterial roadways, and 37 percent for transit – a higher allocation for public transportation than the last 20-year investment of Proposition 400. To me, that means that more Maricopa County families can access reliable, often emissionless means to get to work, to the doctor’s office, or to see loved ones. Public input played a critical role in the development of this plan, and we now put its future back into the hands of the residents who helped to create it. Going to the public for input is how we created our T2050 transit plan in Phoenix, too. Transit in Phoenix doesn’t exist because politicians asked for it, it exists because voters demanded it. In addition to our transportation successes, MAG continues its important work to address air pollution in the region. MAG recently received federal funding to help create and implement a regional plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, including ozone. We have a significant challenge ahead regarding the region’s nonattainment classification. Last year, we were moved from “marginal” to “moderate” nonattainment for the ozone pollution standard. Unless we can meet the standard by August 2024, it is anticipated we will be moved into the “serious” area classification. We need everyone’s help in taking steps to reduce ozone . MAG also has continued its human services work, especially in the areas of heat relief and homelessness . MAG has received recognition for its role in coordinating and maintaining the publicly available interactive map of heat relief sites across the Valley. NBC Nightly News called the network “one of the most sophisticated networks of cooling sites in the country.” MAG does this work voluntarily and receives no funding. MAG continues to tackle challenges in its goal of reducing homelessness by 25 percent by 2025. For every 10 people finding housing, 19 people are newly experiencing homelessness. We are working with partners across the region to find solutions for ensuring everyone in the region has a home that meets their needs. More information about the resources available can be found on the MAG website. If you would like to join the conversation about homelessness, visit homeiswhereitallstarts.org . The issues addressed by MAG are not easy. We believe in the power of collaboration and recognize that by working together, we can achieve more impactful and sustainable outcomes. We actively engage with stakeholders, governments, businesses, and community members to ensure a vibrant economy, world-class infrastructure, and superior quality of life that will preserve our dynamic, thriving region. Update: On November 1, 2023, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution to call a countywide election for the continuation of the dedicated half-cent sales tax to appear on the November 5, 2024, General Election ballot as Proposition 479.