A Superior Court judge today rejected a contractors association attempt to derail an August referendum on the only light rail line currently still alive in Phoenix.
Judge Sherry K. Stephens found no merit to an argument by the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America that claimed election petitions provided a misleading explanation of the initiative sought by opponents of the proposed rail line to South Phoenix.
"This could be one of the biggest rulings of the year," said Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who wants the city’s share of light rail projects diverted into improving city streets and roads.
. "The government tried to take away their livelihoods, and these folks fought back,” the Ahjwatukee councilman added. “This is a huge win for them, and a huge win for taxpayers across the City. This allows our crumbling, dangerous and embarrassing streets to be re-paved today. $1.6 billion is needed today just to bring up the streets to standard.”
DiCiccio noted that the light rail opponents, organized as Build a Better Phoenix, submitted twice the number of required signatures for a referendum on the light rail line project on the ballot,
Yet, he said, “Build a Better Phoenix still found themselves defending the ballot access they earned against a fully-funded and city-supported effort to circumvent the will of the people.”
The Judge noted that a petition summary “is not a complete description of the measure but need only describe the major aspects of the proposition.”
“It is unreasonable to expect a summary that cannot exceed 100 words to fully describe the complex funding process for light rail projects and all variables related to that funding process,” Stephens said.
“As written, the 98 word summary here fairly describes the matters of primary importance in the initiative,” she added.
It is unclear if the contractors group intends to appeal today’s ruling.