Purpose of the Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program
The purpose of the Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program is to comply with Arizona Revised Statutes §28-304, and set forth the plan for developing projects and account for the spending of funds for the next five years. The first two years of the program will be financially constrained by year. All projects in the first two years of the program will be fully funded and be ready to advertise within the year programmed or sooner as determined by the State Transportation Board. The last three years of the program will be used to establish an implementation plan for projects moving through the various preparation phases needed prior to the construction of the project.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is mandated by state law to be responsible for constructing and maintaining all interstate and state highways in Arizona. Fulfilling this responsibility includes extensive public participation and sophisticated technical evaluation known as the Priority Programming Process. The process culminates in the Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program for Highways and Airports. This publication identifies programs and projects programmed for state fiscal years 2014 through 2018.
The Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990 requires that a determination be made that a program conforms to the latest air quality implementation plan before it can be approved.
Arizona Revised Statutes §28-6952 requires the Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program to complete a public hearing and publication. This is done through a series of public meetings held throughout the state in conjunction with the State Transportation Board meetings.
The State Transportation Board uses the Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program for distribution to the public prior to public hearings and final action of the final Five-Year Program.
Current Highway Funding Issues
ADOT is committed to continuing an investment to maintain the state highway system infrastructure. To date, ADOT’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report shows that the state highway system is valued at $18.4 billion through monies spent on all of the expansion, modernization, and preservation projects.
The department’s commitment to investing in preservation means an investment in a quality highway system for future generations as part of the state’s Long Range Transportation Plan. It’s also an investment in the trade, commerce, tourism, and economic development that take place every day as people, goods and services travel along Arizona’s highway system.
ADOT, and many transportation departments across the country, are experiencing a drastic decline in transportation funding due to a number of factors at play: the economic downturn, less federal funding, declines in gas tax collections as people drive less, a drop in vehicle license taxes due to fewer new car sales and fewer new-to-Arizona vehicle registrations, and the purchase of less expensive and more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Over the next five years, there will be less money available for the preservation and expansion of the system statewide. This is the first Five-Year Program that will reflect this dramatic change for the agency. This issue will become more pronounced by 2016 and 2017 stemming from a $350 million projected revenue shortfall.
This shift in the Five-Year Program reflects the focus on the preservation of the investment made to the existing state highway system while moving some programmed projects forward. Other programmed projects in the Five-Year Program will need to be delayed to future years due to significantly less funding. As a result, three options are presented in this Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program for greater Arizona:
- Option A – Focus on Preservation. Under this scenario, there would be 81 preservation projects from 2014 to 2016, 39 bridge projects, one major project, and 690 miles of pavement projects. This option would allocate an average of $184 million per year in preservation from 2014 through 2018. The option focuses the most investment on keeping the existing highway system in good repair with the least investment in programmed major projects in greater Arizona.
- Option B – Focus on Programmed Major Projects. Under this scenario, there would be nine major projects from 2014 to 2017. From 2014 to 2016, there would be 25 bridge projects and 458 miles of pavement projects. This option would allocate an average of $142 million per year in preservation from 2014 to 2018. This option focuses the most investment on major projects that are programmed in greater Arizona with the lowest investment in keeping existing highways in good repair.
- Option C – Combination of Preservation and Major Projects. With this option, there would be four major projects from 2014 to 2017, 39 bridge projects from 2014 to 2018, and 524 miles in pavement projects. This scenario would allocate an average of $149 million per year in preservation from 2014 to 2018. This option focuses on some investment in major projects that are programmed in greater Arizona with less investment in keeping existing highways in good repair.
Maricopa Association of Governments
Regional Transportation Plan Freeway Program
Arizona House Bill 2292, which passed in the spring 2003 session of the Arizona Legislature, established the Maricopa Association of Governments Transportation Policy Committee which was tasked with developing a Regional Transportation Plan for Maricopa County, and established the process for an election to extend the current half-cent County Transportation Excise Tax. On November 2, 2004, voters in Maricopa County approved Proposition 400 to extend the half-cent sales tax for transportation for an additional 20 years to 2026. The extension began January 1, 2006 and ends on December 31, 2025.
In accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes §42-6105.E, 56.2 percent of the Proposition 400 sales tax collections is distributed to freeways and state highways; 10.5 percent is distributed to arterial street improvements; and 33.3 percent is distributed to the public transportation fund. The Regional Transportation Plan thus has three major components: Freeways/Highways, Arterial Streets, and Transit.
The Regional Transportation Plan Freeway Program includes new freeway corridors to serve growth in the region, and improvements to the existing system of freeways and highways to reduce current and future congestion and improve safety. The work includes new freeway corridors, additional lanes on existing facilities, and new interchanges at arterial cross streets, high occupancy vehicle ramps at system interchanges, noise mitigation, litter and landscape maintenance programs, freeway management systems, and freeway service patrols.
The Regional Transportation Plan Freeway Program is funded by three primary revenue sources: the Proposition 400 half-cent sales tax, ADOT funds dedicated for use in Maricopa County, and federal highway funds.
Pima Association of Governments
Regional Transportation Highway Program
The Pima Association of Governments is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for Pima County with program areas that include regional transportation planning. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), a regional governmental entity established in August 2004, developed a 20-year, $2.1 billion regional transportation plan. This RTA plan was approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006 along with a half-cent sales tax to fund projects outlined in the plan over a 20-year period ending in 2026.
The RTA plan as outlined in 2006 includes roadway, safety, transit, and environmental and economic elements.
The Pima Association of Governments receives annual funding from the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund, which consists of fuel taxes, vehicle license taxes, registration fees, and other sources. This fund is divided by state statute among the Department of Public Safety, ADOT, and counties, cities, and towns. ADOT receives 50.5 percent of the fund after an initial distribution to the Department of Public Safety and other items. ADOT sets aside 12.6 percent of these funds by state statute, plus another 2.6 percent by State Transportation Board policy, into the Maricopa Association of Governments and Pima Association of Governments. The Pima Association of Governments is allocated 25 percent of these set-aside funds. These funds are split between state routes and highways, and arterial roadways.
ADOT’s share of federal highway funds forms the basis for its highway construction program, of which a 13 percent share is reserved for highways in the Pima Association of Governments area.
Airport Development Program
In conjunction with Arizona’s public airports and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), ADOT develops the Tentative Five-Year Airport Capital Improvement Program to parallel the FAA’s Airport Capital Improvement Program. This program has the dual objective of maximizing the use of state dollars for airport development and maximizing FAA funding for Arizona airports. Federal monies are derived mainly from taxes on airline tickets and are distributed by the FAA directly to local airports. State funds come mainly from flight property tax, aircraft lieu tax, and aviation fuel tax. The Airport Capital Improvement Program development process allocates money from the State Aviation Fund and distributes these funds across three major categories: Design/Construction, Planning, and Land Acquisition. The State Transportation Board approves this distribution annually.
As airport sponsors receive a federal grant, they will apply to the state for the matching funds. The maximum grant funds any one sponsor can receive cannot exceed 10 percent of the average revenue into the State Aviation Fund for the period of three previous years. The maximum state/local grant funds for the fiscal year 2013 Program is $2.13 million per airport.
The Airport Capital Improvement Program also provides for state-funded loans and Airport Pavement Maintenance Service. Up to $2 million in Airport Loans may be issued in fiscal year 2014. In 2014, $6.4 million will be invested in Airport Preventative Maintenance Services at public airports. Statewide System Planning and Services are managed by ADOT and funded by both federal and state monies. In 2014, $2.6 million will be invested in statewide planning studies and services to benefit Arizona airports.
Linking Planning and Programming
ADOT recently completed its Long-Range Transportation Plan, “What Moves You Arizona”. It was adopted by the State Transportation Board on November 18, 2011. The plan provides a unique approach and strategic direction to guide future investments in transportation through the Recommended Investment Choice.
As part of the implementation of the plan, ADOT has decided to assess its current programming policies and practices. This assessment will provide a direct connection between the plan’s Recommended Investment Choice and ADOT’s programming process. The primary objective of this assessment is to ensure the alignment of decision-making with the plan’s goals, objectives, performance measures, and policies, including an opportunity to improve its transparency, credibility, understandability, and effectiveness. The outcome will be a strategy that links long-range transportation planning to the state’s Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program.
The federal highway and transit bill requires that the Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program be made reasonably available for public review and comment. To comply with this requirement, ADOT holds public hearings in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff. Members of the audience are given the opportunity to address the State Transportation Board on any item of the program. Also, ADOT has made available on its website an opportunity to comment on the program for all who have interest in ADOT’s transportation system.
The 2014-2018 Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program will be available for public review and comment. ADOT has developed a “how to read it” guide and welcomes feedback at FiveYearConstructionProgram@azdot.gov. A phone comment line has also been established for callers to leave comments and ask questions: 1-855-712-8530.
The State Transportation Board will consider all public comments received by May 17, 2013. Public hearings will be conducted on March 8 in Phoenix, April 12 in Tucson, and May 10 in Flagstaff to allow for additional community input. The board is expected to adopt the 2014-2018 Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program at the June 14, 2013 meeting in Pinetop-Lakeside.
When the State Transportation Board approves the Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program, a final document will be prepared and updated on ADOT’s website — azdot.gov.
Updates to the program can be viewed on a monthly basis as the State Transportation Board takes action on specific projects at the monthly board meetings.