By Luci Scott for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
The Arizona Department of Transportation proposes spending a total of nearly $5.5B in fiscal years 2016-2020. That’s the total in ADOT’s final tentative five-year program, which includes $1.1B for airports.
Details of the Tentative Five-Year Project are available on the agency’s website.
The program, a rolling lineup of projects that is updated annually, is a blueprint for future projects, and it specifies how much local, state and federal funding is allocated for highways, bridges, transit and aviation.
The current five-year program, for fiscal years 2015-2019, is also nearly $5.5B.
In the 2016-2020 program, preservation makes up 29% of the projects in Phoenix, Tucson, and throughout the state. Expansion accounts for 59% and modernization makes up 12%.
Excluding Maricopa and Pima counties, preservations makes up 68% of the total projects, expansion makes up 8% and modernization accounts for 24%.
For ADOT’s aviation budget, a total of 65 public airports submitted 715 project requests for consideration worth the $1.1B. In collaboration with Arizona’s public airports and the FAA, ADOT develops a tentative five-year airport capital improvement program to parallel the capital improvement program of the FAA.
Total of $1.3B proposed for 2016
In fiscal year 2016, the total to be spent by ADOT is projected at more than $1.3B. The biggest item for 2016 is more than $509M for the South Mountain freeway; the total expenditure for the five years through 2020 comes to more than $1.4B.
ADOT’s major focus is on preserving existing infrastructure and at the same time providing a reliable transportation network for drivers.
Current levels of funding cannot meet all the needs around the state, ADOT says, and limited funding and growing needs have shifted the focus to preservation of the highway system, valued at $19.7B. ADOT says if it did not invest in preservation, it would cost $200B to replace the existing highway infrastructure.
Fewer dollars for transportation is a result of less revenue from traditional sources of funding, such as the state gasoline tax and vehicle license tax. The state gas tax, 18 cents per gallon, has not been increased in more than 20 years.
ADOT is taking public comment on its tentative program until May 26.
Public hearings are scheduled in Phoenix and Chino Valley. A hearing was held in Tucson on March 20. Feedback can be given at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-855-712-8530.
The State Transportation Board will vote on the final program on June 19 in Pinetop-Lakeside. After a program is approved, a final document will appear on ADOT’s website. Updates will be posted as the State Transportation Board takes action of specific projects at its monthly board meetings.