By Rebekah Morris for AZ Builder’s Exchange, LLC
For the fourth year in a row, Phoenix has eclipsed all other municipalities in the state with the largest planned investment in public assets. The total of its five-year Capital Improvement Plan clocks in at $8.248B and provides funding for a wide range of capital projects including parks, roads and streets to libraries, airport improvements, and public safety facilities and equipment. This year’s total investment decreases from last year’s level by -2.91%.
The top five areas for investment are: Aviation, Public Transit, Street Transportation, Wastewater and Water. Collectively, these five departments represent 84.4% of the five-year total.
Funding Made Possible by T2050, Water Rate Increase
The increased investment in capital programs is tied directly to funding, namely, T2050, the 0.7 cent sales tax measure passed by Phoenix voters in 2015, and a water rate increase passed by Council in January 2019.
Airport Work Includes Taxiway, Concourse, UPRR
The City of Phoenix CIP is the best resource for anyone looking for future airport projects. Years ago all airport work was primarily shown in the ADOT State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), but that has changed, and now their Airport Capital Improvement Plan (ACIP) only shows minimal upcoming airport work, mostly at state-run airports such as the Grand Canyon Airport.
The current level of funding for Aviation sits at $1.494B over the next five years. This is up from last year’s level of $1.225B. While COVID has certainly affected Aviation more than many other departments, federal funds have flowed freely to critically impacted industries such as travel, enabling the department to continue operations and capital planning.
The largest airport projects planned include:
- New Cross field Taxiway U – $220M – solicitations for design services and construction services recently closed. No award has been released yet.
- Terminal 3 North 2 Concourse – $198M – design and construction services have not yet been selected
- Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) Grade Separation – $366M – negotiations with UPRR are ongoing and no scope or timeline information has been released.
Public Transit Investment Centers around Bus, Light Rail
Investment in Public Transit is a major component of the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan for the City. Major initiatives were defined in the planning process for the T2050 program. As a result of that funding measure, the City continues to invest in Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail and equipment and technology enhancements. The City shares in funding for light rail projects, although Valley Metro leads implementation with procurement and delivery of the project.
Major Transit Projects include:
- Northwest Light Rail Extension Phase II (City portion of funding only)
- Capitol and I-10 West Light Rail Extensions (City portion of funding only)
- South Central Light Rail Extension (City portion of funding only)
- Bus Rapid Transit Corridors – three total – $30M to design each, $100M to construct each.
Phoenix plans to invest $860M in Streets Transportation over the next five years. According to the five-year CIP document, Street Transportation investment “includes ongoing major maintenance of streets and bridges, new and expanded streets, mobility improvements, pedestrian traffic safety improvements, technology enhancements and storm water improvements, and prioritizes an accelerated citywide pavement maintenance program.”
In the last cycle, Street Transportation was the primary beneficiary of federal stimulus funds since many projects were deemed ‘shovel-ready’. That surge has subsided and is replaced with a long-term, consistent investment due to T2050 revenue. Consistent revenue is much preferred for transportation planners, who typically plan years or decades in advance.
Within the department, projects are centered around Major Streets & Bridges and Pavement Maintenance and Sidewalks. Major Projects include:
- Pinnacle Peak Road: 45th Avenue to 35th Avenue – $13M – Stanley Consultants design, Combs Construction Company, Inc. for Construction.
- 13th Street: Van Buren Street to Moreland Street – $8.1M – Entellus design, Bids FY 2022 for Construction.
- 3rd Street Promenade: McDowell Road to Indian School Road – $8.84M – Kimley-Horn & Associates design; Hunter Contracting Co. for Construction.
- Western Canal Multi-Use Path: 4th Avenue to 24th Street – $7.5M – Wilson & Company on design; Construction Not Yet Selected.
- 51st Avenue to 43rd Avenue and Carefree Highway to SR 303 – $39M – Kimley-Horn & Associates design; Hunter Contracting Co. for Construction.
Investment in capital projects for the Wastewater Department totals $1,628.8M over the next five years. According to the plan document, “the Wastewater program includes infrastructure, safety, maintenance, technology and efficiency enhancements for the 91st Avenue and 23rd Avenue wastewater treatment plants, Cave Creek Water Reclamation Plant, multi-city and Phoenix sewer line systems, lift stations, support facilities and other related initiatives.”
Phoenix, along with adjoining Cities, all contribute funds to maintain and improve the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. This massive regional facility requires tens of millions in investment each year to maintain operability. Phoenix anticipates investing $273.6M in this facility alone over the next five years.
Major Wastewater Projects Include:
- Land acquisition, design and construction for the SROG Interceptor – $72.5M – Black & Veatch on Design; Construction not yet selected
- Rehabilitation of 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant – $273.6M – various design and construction firms across multiple contracts
- Cave Creek Water Reclamation Plant equipment and systems rehabilitation – $216.2M – Black & Veatch for design; Sundt Construction for construction services.
The planned capital investment in the Water Department totals $1,739.1M over the next five years. According to the plan document “The Water program includes infrastructure improvements, technology and efficiency enhancements for 24th Street, Deer Valley, Union Hills and Val Vista water treatment plants, water storage facilities, wells, pressure reducing valve stations, booster pump stations, water and transmission mains, support facilities and other water related initiatives. Investments in power redundancy and water resiliency programs ensure stable water delivery for customers.
Major water projects include:
- Water Treatment Plant investments – various design and construction firms across many contracts
- Transmission Mains – various design and construction firms across many contracts
- Water Main Replacement Projects – various design and construction firms across many contracts
As Phoenix continues to attract new residents and businesses, the City is wisely investing in infrastructure to maintain a safe and healthy environment across services with a high quality of life for its residents.