Pinal County Supervisor Anthony Smith and Maricopa Mayor Christian Price urged local business owners to “solve the problem of misinformation out there” regarding transportation Propositions 416 and 417 Thursday morning.
During a Maricopa Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Smith and Price detailed the project’s relevance to Maricopa, including the addition of lanes to State Route 347 and the proposed East-West Corridor.
On Nov. 7, Pinal County residents will vote on a 20-year transportation improvement plan and a half-cent sales tax to fund the projects.
“When we moved to Pinal County, you all signed up to be pioneers,” Price said. “If you are all truly pioneers along with me and you don’t like taxes like I don’t, but you believe in investing in your future, you believe in economic development, you believe in growing — then our jobs are to get out and spread this word to solve the problem of misinformation out there, and there’s a lot of it.”
Smith said comments on blogs and social media made by residents county-wide expressed skepticism in the project. Specifically, Smith said some residents doubted whether the sales tax was legal and if projects benefitting their area would really come to fruition.
Over the summer, Smith said county officials sought opinions from legal counsel on the constitutionality of the tax portion of the propositions, eventually leading to a green light from Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and other attorneys.
Additionally, Pinal County Public Works Director Andrew Smith said the plan took into consideration 2,500 pages of studies conducted by towns, cities and the county since 2006.
“We’ve done our due diligence and we’ve put together a plan, and now it’s up to the voters,” Smith said.
The improvements benefiting Maricopa are listed on the project’s first phase during fiscal years 2018 through 2022. During the presentation, Price broke down the numbers for the $640 million county project.
“Maricopans are getting almost $100 million of the projects out of the entire county,” Price said. “That’s just a little under one-sixth of the entire funds raised.”
The city is on track to complete 1,200 building projects this year, a sign of positive growth, but also a sign of an even more congested 347, Price said.
Price noted his efforts partnering with stewards of the 347: the Gila River Indian Community, Maricopa County Department of Transportation and the Arizona Department of Transportation.
“It’s about partnerships, it’s about leadership and it’s about bringing money to the table and if we don’t do that we can always fall back on this phrase that I’ve always used my whole career which is that ‘If you do nothing, you get nothing,’ period.”