As a long time transportation professional and transit supporter, I’ve been a proponent for balanced transportation infrastructure and specifically light rail in the Greater Phoenix region. It’s part of the reason I agreed to serve as a Co-Chair of the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
In my role as Co-Chair, I help lead the committee’s discussions and review relevant transportation and transit policy at every level of government.
For the past two decades, the Chamber has advocated for the development and maintenance of a balanced and cost-efficient transportation system that involves all modes of transportation. In our review process, committee members and representatives from a wide range of industries heard from both sides of the initiative.
This past spring, the Chamber’s Public Affairs program reviewed the Building a Better Phoenix Act (Prop 105). If approved the proposed ballot initiative would amend the Phoenix City Charter to terminate all planned expansions of light rail projects, and not allow the expenditure of any funds in the furtherance of light rail extensions or other fixed rail line transit systems constructed on or after August 27, 2018. Additionally, the Act redistributes revenues designated for light rail extensions for infrastructure projects within the city.
Ultimately, the Chamber and its members voted to oppose Prop 105 as it is contrary to the organization’s guiding principles outlined in the annual Public Policy Guide.
As the voice of business, the Chamber has supported regional transportation strategies, including transit systems that move our economy and our workforce forward. This includes continual support of the region’s groundbreaking light rail system that has connected cities and communities since the initial opening in 2008.
Since the development of light rail, our region has seen a tremendous increase in value.
From encouraging new economic activity to increasing our residents’ mobility, light rail has been integral in our city’s post-recession success.
In fact, the light rail system supports approximately 16.5 million riders annually, and to date, it’s spurred more than $7 billion of economic activity.
If Prop 105 were to pass, our region would lose roughly $5 billion in federal and regional funds to other cities. It will derail our future and hinder our economic prosperity.
As we continue to look forward to the future of our city and region, we can’t afford to lose the progress we have made with the implementation of light rail. If we want to continue to move forward and advance our region, we must support increased mobility and a robust transit system that encompasses a vibrant light rail system.
I hope that you’ll join my fellow Chamber members and me in opposing Prop 105.
Author: David Skinner, PE, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Co-Chair for the Greater Phoenix Chamber