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November 2016 Let's Keep Moving Transportation Update

Your E-News Update from the Transportation Policy Committee (TPC)
Mayor John Giles, City of Mesa
November 30, 2016, Meeting Summary

Message From the Chair

In October, the TPC recommended approval of a pool of projects to be included in the rebalancing of the Regional Freeway and Highway Program developed by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). This month, we began the process of determining the order in which these projects will be added into the program. There is much to consider: project readiness, safety, the current operation of the system, policy, and state and regional priorities. There are issues of workload capacity in terms of construction resources, environmental processes that must take place before some projects can be built, and timing considerations to ensure projects are ordered so there are not many miles of construction delay in the same areas of the Valley.

Not only are we considering the pool of projects in the rebalancing effort, but also reviewing all of the remaining Proposition 400 projects for the last 10 years of the program to look for opportunities to advance projects. Developing this schedule is no easy task. Staff developed its draft recommendations after an intensive three-day workshop that included the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), and consultants familiar with projects across the Valley. MAG additionally is conducting subregional meetings to further refine the schedule. MAG is working with ADOT to finalize cash flow and financial planning details to provide further direction.

Upon receiving additional input on the draft recommendations, the next steps will be to determine what projects could be included in the MAG Transportation Improvement Program, which lists the next five years of projects.

We have come a long way in developing this $5 billion program. I am confident that we can work through any remaining issues to deliver a plan that best serves our residents. It is gratifying to know that the plan we deliver will result in a long-lasting economic development boost to the entire region, resulting in direct and indirect jobs.

Mayor John Giles
TPC Chair

Regional Freeway and Highway Program – 2016 Rebalancing

As noted above, staff provided an update on the proposed sequencing of projects in the Regional Freeway and Highway Program. The program is being rebalanced after more than $900 million in newly available funding was identified based on improving sales tax collections and new cost opinions for existing projects. Because MAG anticipates additional cost savings in the future, the rebalancing includes a pool of projects totaling $1.25 billion. An additional $1.77 billion in projects are already under construction and another $2.3 billion budgeted, for an entire program amount of approximately $5 billion.

Projects expected to be completed by 2022 include improvements on the following segments: I-10 from State Route (SR) 85 to Verrado in Buckeye; Loop 303 in Peoria; Loop 101 from 75th Avenue to I-17; US-60/Grand Avenue at 35th Avenue and Indian School Road traffic interchange; the widening of Loop 202 in Chandler; a new traffic interchange on Loop 202 at Lindsay Road; a Phase One (interim) facility on SR-24 from Ellsworth Road to the county line; and right-of-way purchase for the future SR-30 (also called the I-10 Reliever).

Staff noted that by 2031, about 38 projects will be completed. Final recommendations on the schedule of projects are expected to be considered in early 2017.

I-10/I-17 Corridor Master Plan

Staff provided an update on the Interstate 10/ Interstate 17 Corridor Master Plan. Staff noted the corridor extends along I-17 from the Loop 101 North Stack interchange south to the I-10 Split and extending down to the Loop 202 Pecos Stack interchange. The Master Plan will include recommendations for intersecting and parallel arterial corridors. Staff noted that seven alternatives were identified, with ADOT, FHWA and MAG identifying a highest performing alternative for the corridor that will be presented to the policy committees in January. Public input on the recommendations will open the week of January 16, 2017.

A number of public meetings will be held. Two meetings are scheduled on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, at the MAG offices, 302 North First Avenue, Phoenix. One will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the other from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. A south corridor meeting is scheduled from 6:00-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at the Guadalupe Mercado, Multipurpose Room, 9201 S. Avenida del Yaqui, Guadalupe. A north corridor meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Washington Activity Center, 2240 W. Citrus Way in Phoenix. (See calendar, below.)

Update on 2016 Performance Audit

As part of the enabling legislation for Proposition 400, a performance audit is required every five years by the Auditor General of Arizona. The performance audit of the 2016 MAG Regional Transportation Plan was released on November 23, 2016. Staff noted that MAG provided comments to four recommendations that apply to MAG or to MAG and its partner agencies.

Recommendation: MAG should work with ADOT and the local jurisdictions to enhance freeway and arterial project cards by including baseline budgets and baseline schedules to allow comparisons against actual.
MAG Response: MAG agreed with the finding and has already begun working toward implementation.

Recommendation: Valley Metro and MAG should work together to make available transit project scorecards on MAG’s website, so performance data can be more centrally accessible and transparent to Proposition 400 voters.
MAG Response: MAG agreed with the finding, but suggested a different method of implementation. MAG will continue to reserve web space to co-locate multimodal performance information. Currently, Valley Metro’s performance reports are linked to the MAG Performance Dashboard, MAG will determine how to better integrate the links to make the reports more accessible.

Recommendation: Regional Transportation Plan partners should fully employ best practices and establish performance targets for key indicators for freeway, arterial streets, and transit performance.
MAG Response: MAG agreed with the finding, with modifications. MAG already has employed best practices and developed proposed targets for the regional freeway and arterial systems as required by FHWA. MAG has completed its component of the target setting process and anticipates coordinating with ADOT in order to move forward with the final component of regional target determination.

Recommendation: MAG should work with local jurisdictions to gather and make available local performance indicators related to pavement and bridge deck condition at the Maricopa County or Phoenix-Mesa Urbanized Area level on MAG’s website, so performance data can be more centrally accessible and transparent to Prop 400 voters.
MAG Response: MAG agreed with the finding but suggested a different method of dealing with the finding. Per federal legislation, state departments of transportation are responsible for monitoring and reporting on metrics, measures and targets in the Asset Management Rule and Pavement and Bridge Condition Rule. MAG noted that the recommendation that these indicators need to be made available on its website can be fully implemented when data collection efforts can ensure consistency and completeness.

Annual Report on Prop 400

Voters of Maricopa County approved Proposition 400 in 2004 to authorize the extension of the half-cent sales tax for transportation. State law requires that MAG issue an annual report on projects included in Prop 400, addressing factors such as project status, funding and priorities.

MAG staff noted that total collections of the half cent sales tax are projected to be $5.1 billion from fiscal years 2017 to 2026, representing growth of 5.3 percent. Staff noted sales tax revenue for FY 2016 was $397 million. Those revenues mark the first time that half-cent sales tax collections have exceeded those of 2007, demonstrating the “lost decade” of revenues experienced as a result of the Great Recession. FY 2016 revenue is $6 million higher than FY 2007.

Staff noted that due to provisions of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the region also has seen an increase in forecasted federal revenue. Compared to last year, there is anticipated 8.5 percent growth. This additional revenue has helped the three major Life Cycle Programs.

For the Regional Freeway and Highway Program, four projects were completed in 2016, and six were advertised for bid or are under construction. Staff reported that the biggest accomplishment in 2016 was the beginning of construction on the Loop 202/South Mountain Freeway. The program shows an ending cash flow balance of $787 million, with an anticipated increase in that balance as the cost risk analysis and value engineering process continues and the South Mountain Freeway right-of-way costs are finalized.

For the Arterial Life Cycle Program, staff stated that $73.3 million in project expense reimbursements were issued to MAG member agencies in FY 2016. Eight projects or project segments were completed. There is an ending fund balance of $19 million.

For the Transit Life Cycle Program, there were service improvements on one route in FY 2016. Service on nine additional routes is planned from FY 2017 to FY 2021. The program continues to fund routes already in the program. Operations began on the Central Mesa and Northwest Extension light-rail extensions in FY 2016. There is a positive fund balance of $182 million for the transit program.

Future Meetings

Performance Audit Public Hearing

3:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 4, 2017, MAG Offices*, Second Floor, Saguaro Room.

I-10/I-17 Corridor Master Plan (Spine Study) Public Meetings

  • Central meeting: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 24, 2017, MAG offices*
  • South corridor meeting: 6:00-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 25, 2017, Guadalupe Mercado, Multipurpose Room, 9201 S. Avenida del Yaqui, Guadalupe.
  • North corridor meeting: 6:00-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 31, 2017, Washington Activity Center, 2240 W. Citrus Way, Phoenix.
Regional Council

11:30 a.m., Wednesday, January 25, 2017, MAG Offices*, Second Floor, Saguaro Room.

*The MAG Offices are located at 302 N.1st Avenue, Phoenix. Meeting rooms are on the second floor. All meetings are subject to change.

Let's Keep Moving E-Update is a monthly electronic newsletter providing information about the Transportation Policy Committee and the implementation of the Regional Transportation Plan. For questions regarding this publication, or to be removed from the distribution list, contact Kelly Taft at (602) 254-6300, or via e-mail at

Nov 30, 2016
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