Arizona governor reviews possible road funding solutions

| 10/12/2007

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is considering putting before voters a question about whether to impose new taxes to pay for roads.

The governor is asking for insight on how best to close a gap in funding for transportation needs.

One particular option she is interested in pursuing is the possibility of building a rail line to link Tucson and Phoenix. Tolling existing roads also will be explored.

Napolitano said she also wonders whether private groups would foot the bill for some of these needs. She also wants to find out whether it would be appropriate to increase the state’s fuel tax rates or the state sales tax, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

The governor plans to have a package ready to offer to lawmakers during the next regular session. That would give state officials time to decide whether to put a tax proposal on the ballot as early as next fall.

She wants any proposal for tax increases for transportation to be decided by voters.

The leading state transportation official says coming up with solutions to the state’s funding woes is a complex problem.

Victor Mendez, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, said there is no “silver bullet” to solve all future transportation needs, the Daily Star reported.

The Legislature returns to the capitol to discuss transportation and other issues in January 2008.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Arizona in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor