ELECTION 2015: Phoenix prop vote would boost transit, street funding by $31.5 billion

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/7/2015

The August ballot in Phoenix, Ariz., will include a question about injecting $31.5 billion into transportation infrastructure through 2051.

If approved by voters on Aug. 25, Proposition 104 would benefit transit and roads through a 35-year, 0.7 percent sales tax.

Specifically, funds would be made available for new asphalt on more than 680 miles of city streets. A total of 2,000 new street lights would be added throughout the city. The distance covered by light rail in the city would also be tripled. In addition, connections would be improved between bus and light rail.

The bulk of the new revenue would be earmarked for transit. Bus and bus rapid transit would claim about $17.3 billion while light rail would get $8.9 billion. About 7 percent of the total funds, or about $2.3 billion, would be allotted for street improvements. The rest of the money would be used for debt service and operating costs.

Advocates say additional funding is necessary because ridership on public transportation in Phoenix has increased 40 percent since 2001.

Nevertheless, opponents say too few people use transit to warrant reducing the capacity of city streets. They point out that about 87 percent of workers in Phoenix drive to their jobs.

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