SPEAKER

 

 

Speaker Summary:

Harvey Clark introduced our speaker, Sintra Hoffman, assistant director of public affairs with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

Sintra shared with us information about the benefits of transportation and the financial constraints affecting planning and development. Arizona is working on growing an interstate market to create more wealth for our state.

Funding

There are two major sources of funding for transportation: gas pumps and vehicle license tax. Federal and state gas taxes are set at a combined 37 ½ cents – that number has not changed since the early 1990’s. The tax money goes into a state highway fund, a portion of that is distributed to cities, towns, and counties for local projects, while the remainder finances statewide roadways. Last year’s budget figures were:

 $890 million of the state budget allocated to ADOT

 $285 million to Maricopa County and Pima County

 $285 million to be shared by the rest of the state

The percentages were set in 1985 by a negotiated agreement called the Casa Grande Accord. Of the statewide funds, the bulk ($260 M) was budgeted to preserve and modernize existing roadways, leaving only $25 million for new projects statewide. To put this in perspective, the half-diamond interchange that is currently under construction at Hwy. 60 and Meridian is a $9 million project.

Building the Economy

The Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA) partnership was formed in 2012 with three state agencies participating: ADOT, the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC), and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA). The Arizona Office of Tourism came into the partnership at the end of 2014. The purpose of the TTCA is to identify and facilitate economic development goals at the state level, including building the transportation infrastructure needed to support job creation. The partnership also includes 25 members of the private sector business community, providing practical, experienced input on what is needed in the logistics field to help the economic plans flourish.

Arizona is located one business day away from California to the west, and from Texas to the east. It makes sense for businesses to locate in AZ because of its proximity to these trillion dollar markets; however, I-10 has not been improved since it was built in 1960-70 and needs capacity improvements to facilitate commercial traffic. I-17 also has had limited improvements, and the lack of alternate routes means that when 17 shuts down with an accident, it creates a serious breach in the supply chain. For north/south traffic, ADOT is building I-11 along the current alignment of US 93 (to Kingman and Las Vegas) and expanding with a new section of freeway that continues within the Tucson area.