PHOENIX — There is still time to add your voice to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s 2016-2020 Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program. The public comment period is open until the end of the business day on May 26 to provide community members with a chance to submit their input about the plan for the state transportation system over the next five years.
The 2016-2020 Tentative Five-Year Program is available for public review and comment at azdot.gov/fiveyearplan. ADOT has developed a “how to read it” guide and welcomes feedback at email@example.com. A phone number is also available for public comments at 1-855-712-8530.
The State Transportation Board will consider all public comments received by May 26. Public hearings have been held in Tucson, Phoenix and Chino Valley. The board is expected to adopt the final 2016-2020 Five-Year Program at its June 19 meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Pinetop-Lakeside Town Hall, 1360 N. Niels Hansen Lane, Lakeside, AZ 85929.
The 2016-2020 Tentative Five-Year Program lays out proposed projects and improvements to the state highway system over the next five years, with a major focus on preserving existing infrastructure to ensure that it remains in good condition, while providing a reliable transportation network for drivers. It can be a tough balance, as constrained funding simply cannot meet all the transportation needs around the state.
The Five-Year Program is updated annually and designates how much local, state and federal funding is allocated for projects. This includes highways, bridges, transit and aviation.
Limited funding amid growing statewide transportation needs continues to be the biggest challenge over the next five years. Fewer dollars dedicated to transportation is a result of less revenue from traditional sources of transportation funding, like the state gas tax and vehicle license tax, which support the Five-Year Program. The state gas tax is currently 18 cents per gallon and has not been increased for more than 20 years.
These transportation funding challenges have signaled a shift to a strong focus on the preservation of the state highway system, to protect a system valued at $19.7 billion. If ADOT did not invest in preservation, it would cost approximately $200 billion to replace our existing highway infrastructure, should it fall into disrepair. ADOT is committed to moving major expansion projects forward as well, but with less transportation dollars to stretch, fewer expansion projects make it into the Five-Year Program.