Rural transportation leaders meet, network at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino

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Harrah's Ak-Chin hosted the annual Arizona Rural Transportation Summit last week.

The Central Arizona Governments and Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization hosted the 23rd annual Arizona Rural Transportation Summit at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino on Sept. 14-15.

The CAG Region comprises 17 incorporated communities and four tribal governments throughout Gila and Pinal counties.

The transportation summit is a signature event for elected and appointed local government officials, transportation professionals and legislators to engage in solutions to improve and enhance transportation throughout greater Arizona.

This year, approximately 225 attended.

The summit provided opportunities to connect directly with rural Arizona’s transportation decision makers, who work to improve and enhance transportation needs in the state.

“This was a great event to discuss important transportation issues facing all of rural Arizona, and in our case the Maricopa area,” said Maricopa Councilmember Vincent Manfredi. “This is an event I look forward to each year as I get the opportunity to network and talk about our issues with people who have the ability to help.”

Wednesday’s speakers included Arlando Teller, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs, as well as representatives of the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Arizona Department of Transportation.

Thursday’s session began with remarks from Maricopa Mayor Nancy Smith, Ak-Chin Indian Community Chairman Robert Miguel and ADOT Director John Halikowski.

Sessions included ADOT’s 5-Year Plan & Revenue Outlook, and panel discussions regarding the Regional Transportation Authorities in Pinal, Pima and Maricopa counties.  Panelists included Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland, who chairs the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority.   There was a discussion over lunch with the 17 legislators in attendance.

Closing the program was the Rural Transportation Advocacy Council Board members presenting on local projects.  This panel included Manfredi, representing the CAG Region.

The goal of the summit is to engage with state lawmakers to enact legislation appropriating state General Fund revenues to transportation infrastructure and to provide greater deference to the RTAC Rural Regional Priority Project List, including state highway and local road projects as selected by the state’s regional transportation planning organizations.

Editor’s note: Vincent Manfredi is an owner of InMaricopa.