Hello all,

The State Legislature has now completed its committee work for the session and will increasingly turn more of its attention to the state budget. Discussions between House and Senate leadership are picking up.

Many of the bills in the attached transportation bill matrix are technically "dead" but remain on the list because, if their subjects are budget-related, proposing an adjustment to state revenue or state spending, they have the potential to be included in one of the state budget bills.

Revenue collections remain strong and a historically high revenue balance is expected. There will be many competing interests for that revenue but one-time funding for transportation infrastructure continues to be widely supportive at the Capitol. How much revenue will be set aside for transportation remains to be determined. The Governor has proposed $400 million to further the widening of I-10 between Casa Grande and Chandler. He has also proposed $50 million to start a new SMART Fund program that will provide federal grant application and local match assistance to local jurisdictions throughout Greater Arizona.

While earmarking one-time funding for projects does not provide the same potential for maximizing the highest best use of funding as programming discretionary dollars, we recognize that it is very popular among lawmakers and is, by far, the most likely way that state legislators will provide additional funding for the infrastructure this session.

In response, RTAC in coordination with all of the Greater Arizona regional transportation planning agencies (COG/MPOs) developed a list of priority projects from each region in Greater Arizona. The list totaled $50 million in projects and 90% are for local roads. It is the subject of HB2396 sponsored by Representative Tim Dunn of Yuma. Due to opposition to the inclusion of local projects in the state budget, an alternative list of state highway priority projects across Greater Arizona has also been developed. That opposition to local projects occurred in the House and Senate leadership has since responded that they support the original list of predominantly local projects found in HB2396.

As a result, both House and Senate leadership are continuing the budget discussions with Greater Arizona transportation projects included in their plans but a disagreement on whether to emphasize local or state projects. This year's historical revenue outlook provides a unique opportunity for a substantial increase in transportation investment. Due to decades of under-investment, the needs and demands on our highways and roads clearly justify steering a significant level of that available revenue to the infrastructure. Please continue to contact your legislators and advocate for transportation investment in this year's state budget.

An updated transportation bill matrix, the original local-oriented list of RTAC projects and the alternative list of state projects are attached:




Sincerely,
Kevin Adam,
Legislative Liaison
Rural Transportation Advocacy Council