You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealth out of prosperity.
By Roc ArnettMy TurnFri Aug 9, 2013 6:30 PM
I have had both the pleasure and responsibility of serving on the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council for almost 17 years. Because of its importance to the entire Valley, there is hardly a meeting at MAG that I attend where the South Mountain Freeway is not discussed.
This is a desperately needed project.
The congestion on Interstate 10 through Phoenix and the Broadway Curve during morning rush hour would be substantially improved with completion of the South Mountain Freeway. It will reduce pollution and save drivers both time and money. The money to build the freeway is already budgeted and accounted for, having gone through two votes. How many multimillion-dollar projects carry those kinds of credentials and receive this much attention? Not many.
The South Mountain Freeway must be built — and it should be sooner rather than later.
Recently, an unsolicited proposal to accelerate and build the South Mountain Freeway was submitted by two respected contractors, Sundt Construction Inc. and Kiewit Development Co. They propose to advance private money that will be repaid with the public funds already approved by the voters.
When communities around our Valley have seen the need to accelerate transportation corridors and other important infrastructure, they have stepped up and put local money in the process to the benefit of their communities. The South Mountain project would be in good company. There are examples around the Valley of the positive effects that acceleration can have on our transportation projects. Here are a few:
The building of the Price Freeway portion of Loop 101 south to Chandler Boulevard by Chandler.
The extension of the Red Mountain Freeway portion of Loop 202 to Gilbert Road, undertaken by Mesa.
The acceleration of the widening along I-10, by several West Valley communities, moved the project up four years ahead of schedule.
Mesa and the Arizona Department of Transportation worked to move the start date for Arizona 24 from 2016 to 2012.
The northwest light-rail extension in Phoenix, which was accelerated by seven years, from 2023 to 2016.
These projects have provided much-needed relief for our congested roads.
If it can be accomplished for less money, in less time, then the voters, residents and commuters in this greater area are all winners.
The concept of respected private-sector contractors like Sundt and Kiewit stepping up to put their companies at risk to complete such a project is a bold and valuable business venture for all concerned.
Additionally, the economic impact of accelerating the South Mountain Freeway project would be vast.
It is estimated that the construction would create thousands of jobs and result in investments in excess of $1.6 billion into the Valley’s economy.
I join with other business and community voices to strongly urge ADOT to issue a call for competing proposals, which will keep the process on track and lead to the completion of a key piece of the puzzle for advancement in our region.
There is no more important project to the Valley’s commuters and workers than the South Mountain Freeway.
It must be supported and moved forward.
There’s no time like the present.
Roc Arnett is president and CEO of East Valley Partnership. READ MORE:
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Walter Unger CCIM, CCSS, CCLS
I am a successful Commercial Investment Real Estate Broker in Arizona now for 15 years and I worked with banks and their commercial REO properties for 3 years. I am also a commercial and Landspecialist in Phoenix and a Landspecialist in Arizona.
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