Message From the Chair
Litchfield Park Mayor Tom Schoaf
Since the first reports came back from the MAG Freight Transportation Framework study, we have learned that the state of Texas is greatly outpacing Arizona in imports and shifting freight movement from Arizona ports of entry to Texas. This was confirmed by the work of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, which showed a flat growth line for imports from Mexico to Arizona and a rapidly increasing growth line for Texas. Then at the October Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting we learned that the state of New Mexico is also aggressively pursuing its relationship with Mexico. It is imperative that we move forward in Arizona to find a solution for advancing the traffic interchange at Nogales, which is major bottleneck for freight.
Staff reported at the EDC meeting that 21,000 jobs had been created in Juarez, Mexico, south of the new rail port at Santa Teresa, New Mexico. New Mexico has taken a number of steps to promote trade with Mexico including adoption of a locomotive fuel reduction bill and a vehicle overweight zone, so that overweight trucks can come into the state within a six-mile radius. Also, they created a New Mexico Border Authority. What has been the outcome of these actions? Jon Barela, the Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, stated that 7,000 jobs had been created in New Mexico in 18 months. New Mexico also moved from 38th to second in the nation in export growth.
The recommendations from the MAG Freight Study will provide a blueprint for a freight system from Nogales to Maricopa County. These recommendations will be presented at our October 30th Joint Planning Advisory Council meeting and then must be reviewed in the communities along the freight system. We are looking forward to a productive retreat in early March to work together towards an integrated freight system.
I appreciate your attention and commitment to this important task.
Report of the Freight Transportation Framework Study
MAG Transportation Planner, Tim Strow, and the Parsons Brinckerhoff freight team provided an overview of the final results of the Freight Transportation Framework Study. The goal of the study is to identify freight related economic development opportunities in the Sun Corridor.
The Arizona Sun Corridor ranks 10th among the largest U.S. metropolitan consumer markets. Approximately 85 percent of the state’s population resides within the corridor and it is projected to grow to approximately 12 million by 2050. The Sun Corridor’s prime location makes it a key national market along the east-west trade route between California and Texas, as well as an international market along the north-south CANAMEX trade route. The opportunities for freight-related economic development require the Sun Corridor to compete on a global scale with other countries and domestic regions, and to cooperate – not compete – locally between municipalities. The first step for competing in a global market is to agree on a cohesive economic development plan that has a unified voice for the region.
Darren Henderson from Parsons Brinckerhoff discussed the regional recommendations that include coordinating freight economic development efforts; creating funding programs for improvements and strategic incentives; creating freight districts; including Arizona’s interstates on the National Freight Network (MAP-21); creating a special regional designation, such as a Sun Corridor Freight Development Zone; building international partnerships; conducting a detailed analysis on all focus areas identified in the freight study; preparing conceptual business plans for specific opportunities in the Sun Corridor; and supporting ports of entry with Mexico.
Based on land use context, market opportunities, and supply chain dynamics in the Sun Corridor, freight industry development opportunities fall into four principal types. While Parsons Brinckerhoff identified a total of 16 locations for development opportunity, the Framework Study has focused initially on four emerging areas. These areas include the Tucson International Airport area, Mesa Gateway area, Interstate junction (I-10 and I-8) area around Eloy, and the West Valley area along the I-10 corridor.
Our next step is 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 must examine the feasibility of implementing the JPAC’s recommendations. A Sun Corridor retreat is being scheduled in early 2013 to seek alignment of the idea’s in the study with the Sun Corridor representatives.
Report on the Economic Development Roundtable Discussion with the U.S. Department of Commerce Conference
Dennis Smith provided a report on the Economic Development Roundtable Discussion with the U.S. Department of Commerce, which featured Assistant Secretary Michael Camuñez. The roundtable discussion was held on September 26, 2012 at the Arizona Commerce Authority and included participation throughout Arizona with approximately 73 in attendance. It is the first known effort in which the Councils of Governments, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and the state agencies all came together on a specific cause. Assistant Secretary Camuñez offered to work with the State of Arizona on a National Export Initiative pilot project focused on economic development goals.
Mr. Smith noted that preceding the September 26th event, ASU and the U.S. Department of Commerce hosted a national economic development event in Tempe that focused on the border. At this event, the economic development director of New Mexico discussed successful efforts in their region. After working with numerous agencies, including the railroads, there were 21,000 jobs created south of the Santa Teresa port of entry. As mentioned in the Message from the Chair, a vehicle overweight zone was created, as well as a New Mexico Border Authority. There were 7,000 new jobs created in 18 months and New Mexico went from 38th in the nation to second in export growth. The state of New Mexico has alignment and the goal is to begin to create that alignment here in Arizona through the JPAC meeting and the Sun Corridor Retreat.
Request for Future Agenda Items
A suggestion was made that a representative from the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA) provide an update on the TTCA and the Arizona International Development Authority.
The next meeting of the EDC is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, November 6, 2012, at the MAG Office, 302 N. 1st Avenue, Phoenix, Second Floor, Saguaro Room.
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