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Public Input Needed for AZ's Long-Range Transportation Plan

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Wednesday, March 8, 2023   

The Arizona Department of Transportation wants to hear from people across the state as it looks to set priorities for the state's 2050 Long-Range Transportation Plan.

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund said the state plan should reflect the needs of all Arizonans, no matter where they live.

Diane Brown, executive director of the group, said there has been a clear need to increase features like bike lanes and walking paths, and also to improve public transit options. Brown thinks the goal should be to have transportation choices to help Arizonans save money, improve air quality and take public health impacts into account.

"The transportation system needs to significantly incorporate active transportation such as walking and biking along with public transit to provide Arizonans options," Brown asserted.

Brown added while Arizonans have expressed a desire for more public transit and alternate modes of transportation, it is unclear what the department is doing to help achieve such goals. According to the agency, 85% of people in the state travel by car, and fewer than 2% use public transit. The schedule includes a virtual meeting on March 9 at 6 p.m.

The 2050 Long-Range Transportation Plan is not project-specific, but sets goals to guide the agency's transportation investments for years to come. The current plan focuses primarily on preserving and maintaining the state's current highway system.

Brown countered policymakers should invest in a transportation infrastructure which looks ahead to future needs, especially as the state faces continued water, climate and social equity challenges.

"ADOT recognizes Arizona's population is projected to increase and with it, Arizonans can expect further strain on our water resources and impacts to our climate," Brown pointed out.

Brown's group said the state's willingness to expand highways to alleviate congestion will help in the initial years, but not over time. According to the department, Pinal County is expected to see a big population jump by 2025, and together, Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties will hold nearly 85% of the state's population.

Disclosure: The Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Consumer Issues, Energy Policy, and Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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