Having had the good fortune of serving on the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Council, representing either Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) or The Citizens Transportation Oversight Committee since 1996, I have witnessed over $1.7 billion diverted from Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) to pay for other government programs. It is my opinion, now is the time to reverse these transfers.

Because of the diversions of HURF funds, improved gas mileage of vehicles and other uses, there is now barely enough revenue to meet the needs of maintenance of our highways alone, and does not provide funding for investing in new needed transportation and infrastructure projects. It is a proven fact; transportation projects provide jobs and makes Arizona more competitive with other states. I realize there are many needs in this great state, but it seems to me, taxpayers have a right to expect their gas tax and other vehicle-related revenues to be used for transportation improvements.

Arizona’s unique and strategic location provides tremendous opportunities for economic growth through interstate and international trade. Our competitiveness will be closely tied to the ability to move commerce through the state efficiently. Infrastructure investment leads to economic expansion. To help boost our economic competitiveness and improve the every-day lives of our citizens, we urge you to eliminate the fund sweeps and return to the statutory funding formula distribution of HURF revenues to ADOT, counties, cities and towns.

I urge you to please do what you can to restore the HURF funds to needed transportation and infrastructure projects.

• F. Rockne Arnett is president and chief executive officer of East Valley Partnership.

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