Message From the Chair
Litchfield Park Mayor Tom Schoaf
In October 2010, MAG started the Economic Development Committee (EDC) when we learned that the region had 63,182 homes which were foreclosed or pending foreclosure. We were forced to cut our planned transportation system improvements in response to a reduction of $6.6 billion in our projected sales tax revenues. The transit agencies were forced to cut an additional $2.9 billion. These events were a wakeup call for all of us. We formed the EDC to see if we could make a difference in diversifying our regional economy. These efforts led to the presentation by Michael Gallis at our Sun Corridor Economic Region in the 21st Century Global Network. At our September meeting, we discussed focusing a future retreat on ways to implement the findings of the MAG Freight Transportation Framework Study that envisions a freight system from the Nogales Port of Entry to Maricopa County and beyond.
To help make this decision, a video from Jim Collins, a nationally known business consultant, was shown. It described the process pursued by successful companies to determine their direction. The components of the process include the following:
- What can you be best in the world at (and equally important, what you cannot be the best in the world at)?
- What drives your economic engine?
- What are you deeply passionate about?
As the EDC reviewed these questions, it became readily apparent that MAG excels in transportation planning and the $500,000 freight study is nearing completion. We have learned that trade is an important driver of Arizona’s economic engine and that Mexico is our #1 trading partner. We have begun to strengthen alliances with all of the regional planning agencies and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, which resulted in our recent joint border support resolution. The Governor, through the Arizona Department of Transportation, has formed the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance. The Arizona Mexico Commission and the Arizona Commerce Authority are full partners in the Alliance and in our efforts.
With this foundation, we are moving forward to plan the retreat with our Sun Corridor partners (Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties). Santa Cruz County will also be included due to the mission of the retreat to form a freight system hub from Nogales to Maricopa County. Spokes of the hub to other parts of the State, such as Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Douglas and northeastern Arizona will be developed by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance.
We have heard since the inception of the EDC that we need more political alignment in Arizona. We have witnessed stronger political alignment in states such as Texas and Utah. This proposed retreat will be a great start. Working together I am confident that we can develop a freight system that will diversify our economy and serve future generations.
Report on the City of Phoenix Bank-Local Program
Jeff Dewitt, City of Phoenix Finance Director, provided a presentation on the City of Phoenix Local Banking Deposit Program. The goal of this program is to put money back into the community and to help create jobs. Three priorities of the city’s current investment policy include: preservation of principal, liquidity, and yield. Any cash held by banks must be FDIC insured or collateralized at 102 percent of value, which is also the state statute. The challenge of the current investment climate is that U.S. government securities are highly sought after as investments, driving yields down. Mr. Dewitt explained that the Local Banking Deposit Program sets aside $50 million in cash that is planned to be invested two years or more. It requires using a bank with a physical presence in Maricopa County with yields above two-year treasury notes. This program helps to provide capital to local banks to loan to the local community, providing jobs, and it helps to build relationships with those local banks. Candace Wiest, President and CEO of the West Valley National Bank, noted that West Valley National Bank is a participant in this program. Ms. Wiest commented that she believes this program will help the economic situation in the region and commended the City of Phoenix for its efforts.
Update on the U.S. Department of Commerce Conference – Realizing the Economic Strength of Our 21st Century Border
Rick Van Schoik with Arizona State University, North American Center for Transborder Studies, provided a report on the upcoming U.S. Department of Commerce conference, Realizing the Economic Strength of 21st Century Borders. This conference will gather leaders and innovators from throughout the border regions to identify regional solutions to border-related challenges and priorities. It will be held September 23-25, 2012, at the Fiesta Inn, Tempe, Arizona. Mr. Van Schoik discussed the importance of trade with Mexico and making the borders more efficient and effective. He noted that it is also important to emphasize that in today’s global market there is an integration of goods and services with Mexico and other countries. The conference will end in a Scenario Planning exercise at the ASU Decision Theater. This Scenario Planning is by invitation only, so please contact Rick Van Schoik at D.Rick.Vanschoik@asu.edu if you are interested in participating. For general conference information and to register for the conference, please go to www.regonline.com/ASUtradeconference.
Next Steps to Follow Up on the Presentation The Sun Corridor Economic Region in the 21st Century Global Network
MAG staff provided a report on the next steps to follow-up on the ideas expressed by Michael Gallis at the June, 13, 2012 event. One idea was to have a retreat to conduct a more in-depth discussion on how Arizona could become a multimodal global transportation hub. Due to the statewide significance, MAG staff met with the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Mexico Commission, and the Arizona Department of Transportation to gauge their support for participating in a retreat. Each agency indicated its support of the idea. The EDC agreed that the focus of the retreat should be on beginning the implementation of the MAG Freight Transportation Framework Study. This would encompass implementing a systems approach for freight from Nogales through the central Arizona core to Maricopa County. The first step would be to have a brief introduction to the results of the study at the October 2, 2012, EDC meeting. The second step would be to have a broader discussion of the implementation steps at the October 30, 2012, Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC) meeting. Following the JPAC meeting, the different geographic areas in the study would examine the feasibility of implementing the JPAC’s recommendations. A retreat would then be held in February 2013 to seek alignment of the ideas in the study with the Sun Corridor representatives. Floyd Roehrich, Deputy Director for Policy with the Arizona Department of Transportation, stated that the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance is willing to assist in this effort.
Update on the Appointments of the EDC Business Members
MAG staff provided an update on the appointments of the EDC business members. The EDC composition includes 11 business member positions that have two-year terms with possible reappointment by recommendation of the Executive Committee and approval of the MAG Regional Council. On August 1, 2012, a memorandum was sent to the EDC business members soliciting letters of interest to be reappointed. Nine letters were received, which included a new representative for WESTMARC, William Sheldon. The two transportation industry representatives chose not to submit letters for reappointment. It is anticipated that the Executive Committee will recommend approving the appointments of the nine EDC business member positions, not including the two transportation industry positions, at its September 17, 2012 meeting. This will provide an opportunity for those interested in these positions to submit their name or a letter of interest.
Request for Future Agenda Items
Mayor Stanton suggested that because of the importance of aerospace and defense in this region a letter be written to the Congressional Delegation to encourage cooperation to find a solution to sequestration.
The next meeting of the EDC is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012, at the MAG Office, 302 N. 1st Avenue, Phoenix, Second Floor, Saguaro Room.