Arizona governor eyes more bonding for roads

| 1/8/2007

As Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano begins her second term in office she has her eyes on allowing the state to refinance transportation bonds to help pay for road and bridge work.

Napolitano, a Democrat, is considering a change to state law that limits highway bonds to 20 years, the Arizona Daily Star reported. Repealing the limit would allow the Arizona Department of Transportation to float 30-year bonds, which would allow the state to borrow more money.

The governor was expected to reveal details of her goals for her new term Monday, Jan. 8, when she delivered the annual State of the State Address. The speech comes on the eve of the start of the 2007 legislative session, which begins Tuesday.

The crunch on dollars for transportation has led one lawmaker who took a pledge of no new taxes to consider such an option.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Andy Biggs is looking into whether the state should eliminate its per-gallon fuel tax and replace it with a state sales tax, the Daily Star reported.

Biggs, R-Gilbert, said such a change would provide more money for roads in the long run.

The head of the Senate Transportation Committee, Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, is opposed to Biggs’ plan. Gould has his own idea.

He would rather allow private groups to build and expand existing roads in return for charging tolls, the Daily Star reported. Gould said he doesn’t want to privatize roads that were built with tax dollars.