After months of public comment and debate over which state highway projects will be funded over the next five years, the State Transportation Board has voted to formally adopt the 2014-2018 Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program. The board’s action now determines which projects will move forward in Greater Arizona while allocating dedicated funding to preservation of Arizona’s existing highway system over the next five years. In addition, four major projects will move forward in the Pima County region and 15 major projects will advance in the Maricopa County region using, in part, funding generated by those regions.
The board wrestled with how to fund major projects and still preserve the existing highway system. This year, the proposed projects for Greater Arizona drew a tremendous amount of interest and comment from communities across Arizona. Due to a major decline in transportation funding, the Arizona Department of Transportation must reduce the 2014-2018 Five-Year Program by a total of $350 million statewide and will move toward preserving existing highway infrastructure. This significant reduction in funding means fewer expansion projects will move forward, particularly in Greater Arizona.
The public comment period for the 2014-2018 Five-Year Program began on March 8 and ended on May 17. During this time, public hearings in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff received 1,300 comments from people across Arizona who expressed their views about what projects should be included.
The Five-Year Program serves as a blueprint for future projects and designates how much local, state and federal funding is allocated for those projects. It is divided into three sections: the Maricopa County region, the Pima County region and the 13 counties that make up Greater Arizona.
The Five-Year Program is updated annually. Funding for the Five-Year Program is generated by the users of transportation services, primarily through the gasoline tax and the vehicle license tax.
• Briefs compiled by staff and wire reports.