By Eric Jay Toll for Phoenix Business Journal
Sitting in freeway traffic around Phoenix may get worse before it gets better with the new five-year tentative budget proposed by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
About 8 percent of the state’s road dollars can be spent on improving capacity and building new roads – about the lowest percentage ever for ADOT in the tentative Arizona Five Year 2016-2020 Transportation Improvement Plan.
Arizona often touts the young age of its transportation system as a reason its roads are in good condition. That’s not the word today with more than half the state’s bridges in fair or poor condition. Arizona is well on its way to the list of states with infrastructure that has to be fixed or else.
In the coming fiscal year, ADOT will spend $69.5M to finish widening State Route 260 from Interstate 17 to Thousand Trails Road in Camp Verde, acquire right-of-way for the State Route 347-Union Pacific overpass in Maricopa, and prepare environmental documents for the State Route 189 alignment to Interstate 19 in Nogales.
That’s more than ADOT will have to spend on new road construction over the following four years – even with $8M tossed in by Pinal County and the City of Maricopa in 2020.
This is the result of the recession and a failure of both Congress and the state Legislature to adequately fund state highway construction and maintenance.
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