More Freeways? Rail? Streets? Share Your Metro Phoenix Transportation Priorities

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 5:12pm
Updated: Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 9:56pm

Light rail phoenix
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Valley Metro light rail train in downtown Phoenix.

The organization responsible for developing a long-range transportation plan for the Valley says there are tough choices ahead. That’s why the Maricopa Association of Governments, or MAG, is gathering input before asking voters for more money.

Through a series of online meetings and live chats through May 24, MAG will ask Valley residents to share their transportation priorities and ideas.

Changing technology can make it tough to create a plan for the next 20 years. Transportation Program Planning Manager Audra Koester Thomas says they’re interested in hearing whether residents are okay with not just funding major capital projects but also setting aside money.

“We’re anxious to get feedback from constituents if they’re okay setting aside funding for emerging technology today even if we don’t necessarily know what that specific investment might be in the future,” she said.

In addition to emerging technology, Thomas said they may want to set aside funding for safety and operational investments.  

“So that may not mean adding another freeway lane, it may mean providing some technology solutions to make traffic flow better,” she said. “It may mean reconfiguring a traffic interchange that makes it safer and moves people through the intersection more effectively.”

She said another big challenge is not having enough revenue to keep up with growth. MAG plans to ask Maricopa County voters to extend or increase the current half-cent sales tax before it expires in 2025. It could be on the ballot as soon as November 2022.

Here are upcoming opportunities to share feedback:

LIVE ONLINE SESSION:

  • Tuesday, May 18, 9 a.m.
  • Saturday, May 22, 9 a.m.

 COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS:

  • Mobility & Safety: Friday, May 14, 7 a.m.
  • Responsiveness & Preservation: Monday, May 17, 3 p.m.
  • Livability & Prosperity: Thursday, May 20, 6 p.m.

 LIVE CHAT:

  • Have questions? Want to share a quick idea? You can chat directly with the MOMENTUM team.
  • Live Chat available in English Monday-Saturday, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Live Chat available in Español Thursday and Saturday, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Based on a recent survey, MAG said nearly 65% of likely county voters supported extending the tax and more than 40% supported a higher tax. Top priorities among supporters were evenly split between light rail, highways and freeways, and streets and roads.

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