The future of transportation in the city of Phoenix is up to the people.

Mayor Greg Stanton launched the city’s Citizens Committee on the Future of Phoenix Transportation on Tuesday. The committee will be chaired by Mary Peters, former U.S. secretary of transportation, and will work with the public to address future transit service routes, identify capital improvement and maintenance needs for roads and propose a funding mechanism for ongoing improvements. The committee has been asked to bring a plan back to the city council by the end of the year.

“Even if you don’t use public transportation, you want a city to have a great transportation system because the economy is improving, this city is growing again, there’s going to be more and more congestion and unless we work hard to get ahead of the curve, things are going to slow down in this city,” Stanton said. “We don’t want that to happen. That’s why it’s incredibly important that we put together this committee to meet transportation needs.”

Stanton said the last time the city really addressed transportation was in 2000 when the voters approved a transportation sales tax. That funding source expires in 2020. This committee’s recommendation will likely end up on the ballot next year seeking funding.

“This plan, I hope encompasses everything,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams. “It’s light rail. It’s bus improvement, also improving our streets. We have to recognize the facts that our streets are getting older, we now have more bicycles on them and we have a Complete Streets plan we can’t implement unless we have more revenue.”

Williams has been an outspoken proponent for light rail. She said she’d like to see light rail reach Metrocenter. The first 20 miles of the light rail cost $2.4 billion, but those in favor of the rail say it has already brought in $7 billion in economic development.

The committee will include current and former council members, community leaders and business leaders. The public is encouraged to participate by visiting and attending public meetings.

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