East Valley lawmakers ask Hobbs to prioritize SR 24 expansion despite deficit

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 9:52am

Arizona lawmakers representing the area want to make sure the state budget secures funding to further extend State Route 24 in the fast-growing southeast Valley, but the state is facing a budget deficit. 

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and several lawmakers have indicated that planned transportation projects will be postponed this year to save money. 

Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) accused Hobbs of targeting the SR 24 project in particular.

“It’s just sad to me that Katie Hobbs continues to play these games, reneging on prior agreements, reneging on the good-faith negotiations with the legislature and holding this critically needed funding hostage,” Hoffman said.

Last year, the Legislature and governor approved nearly $90 million for further work on SR 24, but in Hobbs’ proposed budget, it’s held back.

East Valley politicians penned an op-ed on Thursday, urging Hobbs to prioritize SR 24 funding this year.

In 2023, lawmakers had a large surplus to work with as they crafted the state budget. 

Many lawmakers chose to dedicate chunks of a few million dollars each into various transportation and infrastructure projects like the SR 24 extension. 

The governor’s proposed 2024 budget would put a hold on several of those projects that aren’t already well underway, but were approved between 2021 and 2023. Those holdbacks are projected to save the state more than $400 million. 

Republicans suggested that Hobbs was playing politics by not ensuring that Democrats lose out, because the GOP lawmakers are the ones who dedicated the bulk of the transportation funding last session. 

Democrats responded that because their monies were dedicated elsewhere, they don’t have any projects to put a hold on.

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