The State Transportation Board formally approved an annual plan that outlines transportation projects over the next five years across Arizona.
The Arizona Department of Transportation’s Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program is a work plan outlining highway, transit and aeronautic projects from 2013 to 2017.
It serves as a blueprint to detail where, when and how regional, state and federal funding will be spent for future projects.
It’s $5.8 million is divided among highway projects ($2.5 million), the freeway program ($2.1 million) and airport capital improvements ($1.2 million).
Of the 339 specific highway projects listed, none are in the Page area, but the airport is projected to receive $7.6 million worth of work.
The money is the total of federal ($5 mllion), state ($2.2 million) and local ($457,454) funds.
Among the improvements under consideration are runway pavement preservation, extension/widening/strengthening runways and taxiways, and expansion of the terminal and construction of an aircraft rescue and firefighting building.
At its June 13 meeting, Page city council approved $80,000 to bulk up the apron.
One argument in favor of spending the money in tight fiscal times is that with state and federal matching funds, the airport will receive $1.8 million for the city’s $80,000 investment.
The second argument in favor of the expenditure came from Councilor Lyle Dimbatt, who said the thicker apron will enable bigger planes to land at the airport.
“Bigger planes means bigger people, which means more money.”
ADOT’s Five-Year Program not only sets the direction for statewide highway and airport projects in the years ahead, but it also provides a clear picture of what each project costs and how and when it will be funded.
The program reflects a change in philosophy and expenditures for ADOT. Due to a major decline in transportation funding, the agency must shift priorities to more preservation, maintenance and modernization of highways and infrastructure.
For 2013 through 2017, the total for the highway portion program is set at approximately $940 million per year to preserve, modernize and improve Arizona’s highways. That’s down from the $1.1 billion per year from the 2012-2016 Five-Year Program, due primarily to the decline in funding resulting from the weak economy.
Of the total amount of funding estimated over the next five years, about half is designated for the Metro Phoenix region, in part because of the Valley’s half-cent sales tax for transportation projects, approved by voters in 2004.
About $126 million is designated for aviation projects in the Five-Year Program.
The Five-Year Program can be found at www.azdot.gov/MPD/priority_Programming/PDF/program.pdf.
During the past three months, ADOT held three public hearings and encouraged online comments about the program. The department received nearly 600 comments from community members statewide. Input from the public is critical as the agency plans ahead for future transportation needs, investments and infrastructure.
The Five-Year Program begins with a long-range visioning process, moves into a more realistic 20-year plan and finally yields each formally approved Five-Year Program.
The program is developed by working closely with local planning organizations and community leaders to identify ready-to-construct or design projects. A potential project goes through several levels of review to become part of the tentative program before being presented to the State Transportation Board for consideration and approval.
Looking five years into the future can be difficult with the current status of the economy. That’s why the 2013 and 2014 portions of the program are “fiscally constrained” — meaning based on an expected budget — while the three remaining years are built on budget estimates, which is one reason the Five-Year Program is updated each year.
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