Scottsdale voters approve sales tax to address infrastructure needs

With the voters’ approval, the city of Scottsdale will move ahead with 22 projects, all of which the Arterial Life Cycle Program of the Maricopa Association of Governments covers. (File Photo)

In the face of numerous infrastructure projects, Scottsdale voters approved a ballot measure that will implement a .10 percent sales tax increase over the next 10 years.

That increase — which voters approved with 54 percent of the vote during the Nov. 6 general election, according to unofficial results at the county recorders office — will amount to one penny on every $10 purchase.

This money will go to help fund about $500 million in transportation needs, Scottsdale Transportation Director Paul Basha said. More specifically, the city hopes, through the tax, to raise $70 million, making it eligible for $171 million more from the Arterial Life Cycle Program of the Maricopa Association of Governments.

Allocations of ALCP revenue are administered taxpayer dollars from Prop. 400, which is a .5 percent sales tax allocation for transportation projects. To qualify for the projects, Scottsdale needed to ensure funding dollars are available to meet tenets of the ALCP.

The need for transportation improvement funds was sparked when 68th Street Bridge was deemed unsafe for travel earlier this year, followed by the closing of Drinkwater Bridge in Old Town Scottsdale.

Guy Phillips

Scottsdale Vice Mayor Guy Phillips, who spearheaded the ballot measure, said he was pleased to see Scottsdale voters approve the initiative.

“I always felt that the residents of Scottsdale are smart and informed voters so if we could bring them a measure that was transparent, leveraged county funding and provided critical infrastructure needs for the city, we would see a positive outcome at the ballot box,” Mr. Phillips said via email.

“Now that the voters have approved question 1, the city can start the process of retrieving the County Prop. 400 funds and start planning local transportation projects.”

Councilmember Virginia Korte said she was pleased to see Scottsdale citizens voting to help with the city’s transportation needs.

“I also think it’s important to note that this is just a fraction of our capitol needs within this city,” she said. “However, saying that, it’s important to take the first step and this is an important first step.”

Mr. Basha said the city has identified 22 projects, all of which fall under the ALCP, that will receive attention first.

Those projects include work on Scottsdale Road in numerous spots, several Loop 101 interchange projects, 10 projects between Loop 101 and 136th Street on Shea Boulevard and several projects along Pima Road, among several others.

“We’re very pleased with the vote,” Mr. Basha said. “This is very helpful. It allows us to provide improvements to our transportation system.”

Virginia Korte

Mr. Basha also said the amount from the ALCP is only about half of what the city will need to cover its $500 million in projects. This was a concern Ms. Korte had in initially voting to send the measure to the ballot, ultimately dissenting on that vote.

Since then, she said she has come out in full support of the sales tax

“Within a couple weeks of that vote, I came out publically in favor of question 1 because of the critical need for infrastructure improvements in our city,” she said. “The fact that we were able to get two-to-one matching funds for specific projects from Maricopa Association of Governments. It made fiscal sense.”

Looking forward, Mr. Phillips said this amount will make a difference in the community.

“The city has been waiting for these funds for almost 15 years and now we can provide our city real projects to enhance our community and keep up with the increasing traffic in the future,” Mr. Phillips said. “I would like to take this time to say thank you to all our residents who agreed to this minor tax levy for that purpose.”

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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