If you missed last Friday’s Public Affairs Committee Meeting, here are the highlights:
With the Legislative Session over, the Chamber is shifting its focus towards local issues for the summer. City of Phoenix Budget & Research Director Mario Paniagua presented to the committee on the FY 15-16 proposed city budget. With no proposed reductions to services, the projected expenditures are $1.154 billion, which matches the level of currently projected resources. This number will be further refined in the coming weeks when the proposed budget is formally adopted by the city council.
In addition to the budget, Proposition 104 was up for discussion. This ordinance would fund a comprehensive transportation plan for Phoenix that will maintain and expand the light rail and bus systems, improve city streets and roadways and provide Phoenix residents with more transportation choices. The proposal increases the current city transportation sales tax to 7/10 of a penny through 2050. Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark presented to the committee on what is contained in the proposal. Bill Scheel, Maria Baier and others argued in favor of the proposition, while Scot Mussi from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club spoke in opposition. As stated by proponents, the proposed transportation plan aims to serve the growing population of Phoenix by reducing traffic congestion growth and keeping Phoenix green. This will be done by tripling the current light rail miles, increasing bus frequency by 70 percent, increasing the hours that transit is in operation, add more bicycle lanes and sidewalks, add new streetlights, and allocating $240 million for new roads and bridges.
The Public Affairs Committee voted to recommend supporting the proposition. It now moves to the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for determination of a final Chamber position.