Millions of people play the Arizona Lottery and may or may not win, but for each ticket purchased, the money is seen around the state and, more importantly, in Maricopa.
Since 2006 Maricopa has received funds from the Local Transportation Assistance Fund (LTAF) to help fund the MaricopaXpress (MaX) and City of Maricopa Express Transit (COMET). The MaX busses Maricopa commuters into Phoenix and Tempe, and the COMET runs local routes within the city.
However, budget issues led the state to eliminate the program, which was funded by the purchase of Powerball tickets, allowing those monies to go into the general fund.
“The city will no longer be given any assistance through the state as the funding has been swept, and there has not been a funding source proposed or identified to assist with transit,” said Maricopa Transit Coordinator Kellee Kelley. “The city of Maricopa still has LTAF II funding from previous years that will be used toward the operations of both systems at this point in time.”
In 2009 the city received $51,696 from the fund, which was spread across the state to help further transit and mobility efforts. In 2011 the city only received $31,658 from the final disbursement.
According to the Arizona State Lottery, LTAF II, signed into law in 1998, distributed over $127 million to transportation projects in cities across the state since the first collection of funds in 1999.
Those funds have been allocated for bus stop improvements, Dial-A-Ride and other types of transportation services.
As of now, Maricopa will see the buses continue to run, as there is currently a surplus of money left from the LTAF funds. However, if the mayor and city council decide to end the services, any money left in that fund would go back to the state’s general fund or be allocated to other cities with transportation services.
“Transportation is one of the goals set by the mayor and council in the strategic plan that provides specific direction for the immediate future of Maricopa and establishes a strong foundation upon which to build strategies that will guide future activities and the development of the community,” Kelley said.
In March, MaX provided a total of 736 one-way rides to and from the Valley, and riders boarded the COMET 96 times.
MaricopaXpress (one way):
$2 Youth (6-17 years old)
$1 Seniors (60+ years old) or persons with disabilities
$1 per day (children 5 and under are free with a paying adult)
For more information and schedule times, visit Maricopa-az.gov.
Photo by Ash Friederich