ADOT's tentative Five-Year Construction Program available for comment

Comment online through May 18

PHOENIX, Ariz. - As Arizona marks 100 years of statehood this year and we take a look back on the past, it's also the time to look ahead to the future, especially when it comes to planning our transportation needs, investments and infrastructure.

As we balance limited funding and a need to identify the state's top transportation priorities, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is seeking public input on the Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program, a work plan outlining highway, transit and aeronautic projects from 2013 to 2017.

Comments can be made online. ADOT has developed a "how to read it" guide and welcomes feedback at FiveYearConstructionProgram@azdot.gov. The State Transportation Board will consider all public comments received by May 18. The board is expected to adopt the 2013-2017 Five-Year Program at its June 15 meeting in Show Low.

The Five-Year Program serves as a blueprint covering a five-year span to detail where, when and how regional, state and federal funding will be spent for future projects. The program begins with a long-range visioning process, moves into a more realistic 20-year plan and finally yields each 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.

For 2013 through 2017, the total for the highway portion of the Five-Year Program is tentatively set at $940 million a year to preserve, modernize and improve Arizona highways. That's down from the $1.1 billion per year from this year's 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. Approximately $126 million is designated for aviation projects in the Five-Year Program.

Especially today, 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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