Capital injection around Maricopa could ease traffic headed north on weekday mornings. 

Pinal County’s director of economy and workforce, James Smith, said Arizona’s third-most populous county is a burgeoning hub of investment opportunities. 

“It’s incredible how much is happening and how fast it’s happening,” Smith told the Maricopa school board last week.  

According to Smith, a library of projects will directly create more than 13,500 jobs and attract more than $10 billion in capital investment to Pinal County. It’s all part of a strategic goal to create new jobs and keep more people in town. 

Although more people live in Maricopa than any other city in Pinal County, most of the injection is scattered elsewhere — San Tan Valley, Queen Creek and Coolidge. 

But new dollars inside county lines are still a pro for the 84% of Maricopa residents who leave the county for work every day — a higher rate than the county at large and among the most commuter-saturated in the state. 

These projects span various industries including green energy, aerospace, defense, electric vehicles, distribution, mining and agriculture. 

Smith said workforce opportunities are still on the horizon in city limits. Exceptional Community Hospital and APEX Motor Club were named as examples. 

Mayor Nancy Smith said Maricopa is “becoming a lightning rod for some of the most exciting development opportunities in the country.” 

Maricopa’s housing niche contributes to its allure as the county grows around it, Smith said.  

If Maricopans face hours in the car every day as they drive in and out of urban Phoenix, they’re likely buying lunches, gas and groceries elsewhere. 

“Those are tax dollars that are all lost,” Mayor Smith said. 

In the next five years, Maricopa expects an influx of new residents, students and housing demand, underscoring the need to create more job opportunities close to home. 

“Obviously, being a new community, it’s going to take a while,” James Smith said. “But Maricopa’s time is coming.”  

Projects outside Maricopa, like LG and Procter & Gamble, headline the high-dollar injections in Pinal County. 

LG’s investment in Queen Creek more than doubled to $5.5 billion while Procter & Gamble announced a $500 million project in Coolidge last year.