Graham: sales tax measure makes good sense for Scottsdale infrastructure needs

I have served on Scottsdale’s Transportation Commission for the past five years — so I understand how high-quality roads and paths set us apart from other cities. In the past, our well-maintained streets and paths contributed to Scottsdale’s prominence as a resort destination.

Barry Graham

Now, the streets resemble those in other cities. Some areas are even crumbling, such as the bridges on 68th Street and Drinkwater Boulevard.

Passage of Question 1, which temporarily increases the city sales tax, will help slow the growing tide of disrepair that is impacting our city’s infrastructure.

The strongest part of Question 1 is that it secures $170 million of regional matching funds. These matching funds come from the 2005 voter-approved Proposition 400. If Scottsdale does not meet a key Prop. 400 deadline, we permanently forfeit the matching dollars. These dollars that are set aside for Scottsdale will be snatched-up by other cities hoping for second-round funding.

If voters approve Question 1, the proceeds are legally obligated for Scottsdale’s streets and paths. They are already designated for many of our highest needs, including:

  • Traffic reduction in the area of Shea Boulevard and the 101
  • Traffic reduction in the area of Frank Lloyd Wright, Hayden Road, and the 101
  • Improvements to Scottsdale Road
  • Improvements to Pima Road

I’m voting “yes” on Question 1 for the following reasons:

  1. Tourism is Scottsdale’s top industry. Visitors come to our city for its weather, beauty, and an experience few other cities can offer. An important part of their impression of Scottsdale is our well-maintained streets and paths that make it easy to get around.
  2. Scottsdale is very livable, in part, because we make transportation investments that reduce traffic and increase safety for both visitors and residents.
  3. Each dollar from Question 1 will be matched by more than two-dollars of regional funds, which will otherwise expire. The projects designated for these funds will make driving, walking, and riding in Scottsdale much easier and safer for our visitors and residents.
  4. Our sales tax will remain among the lowest in the Valley — lower than Phoenix, Tempe, Peoria, and Glendale, and equal to many others.

I encourage you to vote “yes” for Question 1 this November.

Editor’s note: Mr. Graham is a resident of Scottsdale and community advocate

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