By Connie Van Driel, Tom Shope and Ed Farrell
When it comes to the huge need for new roads and freeways in Pinal County, who do you trust?
The endorsers of Propositions 416 and 417 that include every mayor in Pinal County, all five of its supervisors, numerous chambers of commerce, our county sheriff and county attorney, community leaders from Saddlebrooke to San Tan and even the current chairpersons of the Pinal County Republican Party and Democratic Party?
Or the most notorious dark-money organization in Arizona, based in Phoenix, known as the “Arizona Free Enterprise Club,” which has even been questioned by the FBI for its smarmy political ways?
We ask because this Phoenix special interest group that does the bidding of donors, not “free enterprise” recently wrote about keeping Pinal County down by arguing against the two measures to finally get Pinal County major traffic relief in every part of the county.
Their arguments were so false as to be comical, but we must respond because if people actually believe their nonsense it undermines one of the best chances Pinal County has ever had to improve its quality of life via new transportation infrastructure, economic development, Dial-A-Ride services and public safety assistance.
The Phoenix special interest says an auditor’s report citing a specific spending problem with past road projects in Superior and Mammoth as reason to reject new roads and freeways throughout Pinal County now. Because of one-time issues in two of Pinal County’s smaller communities we are not going to attempt to improve transportation everywhere else? This makes no sense, especially when one reads the auditor’s report in full and not cherry-picking items.
The report is otherwise approving of how Pinal County has managed road funds. Nevertheless, at the suggestion of San Tan resident and current chairman of the Pinal County Republican Party Michael Burke, a Citizen’s Oversight Committee is to be established in conjunction with Propositions 416 and 417. Representation will be made up of residents throughout Pinal County including its unincorporated areas.
Because the dark money organization is so unfamiliar with Pinal County, they also say places like San Tan won’t benefit? But support there is overwhelming because State Route 24 will be extended from the Maricopa County line many miles east to the North-South Parkway. And Gold Canyon won’t see relief either? Ignorant. The North-South Freeway, State Route 24 and boosts for Dial-A-Ride services all provide residents there and Apache Junction alternatives to the 60, north and south and east to west.
They also mention Saddlebrooke, which is getting a critical road that residents there requested to alleviate significant, existing traffic concerns. Furthermore, the developers of Saddlebrooke are one of the largest donors to the campaign in support of Propositions 416 and 417. And, of course, the specious critic didn’t mention Maricopa, Casa Grande and other communities where major problems are being addressed with transportation improvements, too.
And we must address the irony of the most secretive political organization in the state accusing Pinal County of trying to “sneak” this by. The opposite is true. The plan has been crafted over many years with incredible input from city councils, dozens of community meetings and considerable media attention. Indeed, ballots are being mailed to every registered voter in Pinal County for the Nov. 7 election.
We could go on because the lies and misinformation are so pronounced. From help with I-10 to new roads and freeways that will improve the lives of every Pinal County resident Propositions 416 and 417 are plans whose time have come and ones we must undertake before it’s too late. Help is not coming from the federal government. Help is not coming from the state, which says they have a “800 year” backlog for transportation projects. It must come from us, the people of Pinal County.
We return to the notion of who do you trust to get the new roads and freeways we desperately need in Pinal County? All of the people we mentioned, all of the collaboration that’s taken place and a small sales tax increase that will cost the average household 24 cents per day? Or a highly suspect special interest that is curiously trying to keep Pinal County down? They’ve even fought other parts of the plan to force you to pay more tax than what Pinal County is now proposing.
But beyond trust look at the plan for yourself. Judge it for yourself. It’s very impressive. Click here to view the plan map. We stand for the plan and for Pinal County, and hope you will too by voting yes on Propositions 416 and 417 on Nov. 7.
For more information on the campaign please go to www.yeson416and417.com. If you are interested in endorsing the campaign or requesting a sign for your yard or business please let us know that too by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connie Van Driel is a resident of Apache Junction. Tom Shope is the former mayor of Coolidge and owner of Shope’s IGA. Ed Farrell is a Maricopa resident and was the community’s first mayor.