Article

June 6, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kelly Taft, (602) 452-5020

PHOENIX (June 6, 2017)—The chief economist for the trade industry group Associated General Contractors of America will share some great news about the Arizona economy tomorrow.

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) recently added $1.25 billion in projects to its longrange Regional Transportation Plan. Combined with other already scheduled projects in the plan, the funding for freeway and highway projects equals $3.25 billion. An additional $2.5 billion is programmed in the Plan for transit projects.

It’s a big number, but what does $5.7 billion truly mean for the Valley's economy?

Ken Simonson, the chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America, has 40 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic issues. He will appear at a press conference at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 7, at Civic Space Park, 424 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix (stage area), to talk about the ripple effect of $5.7 billion to the Valley economy. Simonson will be joined by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, MAG chair, and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, chair of the Valley Metro Rail Board.

“Not only are construction jobs important to the construction industry, but also to suppliers, distributors, retailers, and families,” says Simonson, who will break down the funding in terms of jobs created and other benefits. “You could make the case that every Arizonan benefits from this influx of spending.”

Mayor Stanton said increased transportation funding is the result of several factors, including a boost in sales tax revenues with a strengthened local economy and efficiency-focused work by MAG and the Arizona Department of Transportation to refine project costs.

“Further investments in our transportation infrastructure will help us build on our economic success over both the short- and long-term,” said Stanton. “These resources will help us fast-track dozens of priority construction projects throughout the region.”

Mayor Mitchell adds that light rail construction in the Valley has resulted in billions of dollars in economic development as well as a better quality of life.

“Investment in transit has been a major motivator in the creation of nearly $9 billion in public and private development, as well as neighborhood revitalization along the Valley Metro Rail corridor,” said Mayor Mitchell. “In addition to supporting population growth and travel demand, expansion of the regional transit system creates jobs, attracts major special events, increases property values and supports connections to education and workplaces.”

Visuals available at the event will include a display of freeway and rail construction equipment. B-roll of South Mountain Freeway construction also will be provided upon request.

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