Hello all,

HB2543, the rural transportation priority project bill, continues to gain momentum and move through the Legislature. After passing the House 50-8 last week, the bill cleared the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee 5-1 on Monday. Appreciation to Chairman David Farnsworth for placing the bill on the agenda and voting in support and for Senator Rosanna Gabaldon for her strong endorsement for the need to invest in rural infrastructure during her vote explanation.

Also, there was a great turn out by rural officials and thanks to bill Sponsor Representative Tim Dunn, RTAC Chair & Graham County Supervisor Paul David, RTAC Vice Chair and Lake Havasu City Councilmember Nancy Campbell, State Transportation Board Chair & Yuma City Councilmember Gary Knight, Yuma County Supervisor Lynne Pancrazi, RTAC Advisory Committee Chair & Central Yavapai MPO Executive Director Vinny Gallegos, Yuma MPO Executive Director Crystal Figueroa, and Coconino County representative Todd Madeksza for providing excellent testimony in support of the bill.

The bill is now scheduled to clear its last committee assignment when it is considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee this Tuesday (4/4) at 1:00. Please contact the committee members prior to Tuesday afternoon's vote to register your support for the bill:

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

Senator John Kavanagh (Chair) jkavanagh@azleg.gov (602) 926-5170
Senator Jake Hoffman (Vice-Chair) jake.hoffman@azleg.gov (602) 926-3292
Senator Lela Alston lalston@azleg.gov (602) 926-5829
Senator Ken Bennett kbennett@azleg.gov (602) 926-5874
Senator Eva Diaz eva.diaz@azleg.gov (602) 926-3473
Senator David Farnsworth dfarnsworth@azleg.gov (602) 926-3387
Senator Brian Fernandez bfernandez@azleg.gov (602) 926-3098
Senator Anthony Kern akern@azleg.gov (602) 926-3497
Senator Sine Kerr skerr@azleg.gov (602) 926-5955
Senator Raquel Teran rteran@azleg.gov (602) 926-3308

Here is a synopsis of where we are with the bill:

Over the last couple of years, there has been a strong acknowledgement among lawmakers that we have been dramatically under-investing in our transportation infrastructure impacting congestion, safety, our economy, and air pollution. While there has not been adequate support to permanently increase transportation-dedicated revenue streams, lawmakers have supported directing available one-time revenues to specific projects in the state budget. 
 
In response, the counties and municipalities that comprise Greater Arizona (everyone outside of Maricopa and Pima Counties) have developed a list of transportation project priorities for the rural and small metropolitan regions of the State.
 
Over roughly a six-month period leading into this legislative session, the regional transportation planning organizations sought project applications from all of their member counties and municipalities. Applications were vetted and ranked by the technical and management committees consisting of the transportation engineers, public works directors, county administrators and city/town managers. Final approval was voted on by the regional councils and executive committees of each region consisting of county supervisors, mayors and councilmembers from all of the jurisdictions. The selected projects were then compiled and drafted into legislation by the Rural Transportation Advocacy Council (RTAC) and sponsored by Legislative Rural Caucus Chair, Representative Tim Dunn from Yuma. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair, Representative David Cook from Globe, has also played an integral role in moving the bill through the legislative process.
 
The introduced bill contains 82 projects requesting $300M in State General Fund Revenue. While the local contributions vary per project, 75 include some level of local cost share, and collectively, the locals are providing a predominant share of the total project costs. An additional $437M outside of the funding requested in the bill has been secured for these projects, predominantly from the local governments. The locals have “a lot of skin in the game,” translating into roughly 60% of the project costs being covered by funding sources other than this legislation.  
 
In addition to the projects described above,10 additional projects totaling $31,070,100 were amended on by the House bringing the bill total to $331,070,100. A list of the projects is attached along with a current transportation bill matrix providing the status of all transportation infrastructure-related bills.

A final precautionary note to all jurisdictions with projects in the legislation. Regardless of how far HB2543 moves, whether each project is funded in the budget, or not, will depend heavily on whether the legislators representing the project locations push for their budget inclusion. So, please continue to engage your legislators and urge them to support your projects in the budget process.


Sincerely,
Kevin Adam,
Legislative Liaison
Rural Transportation Advocacy Council