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Revenue Gap to Maintain Arizona’s Highways Grows to $30 Billion
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22 January 2020   David Martin, Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors

State, County, and Local officials all confirm that state has a growing maintenance gap

PHOENIX – The Arizona House of Representatives Transportation Committee received briefings on Wednesday from the Arizona Department of Transportation, County Supervisors Association, and the League of Cities and Towns regarding the ongoing maintenance needs for the state’s highways and roads.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Noel Campbell said, “I am glad that these individuals were able to take the time to come to the Arizona State Capitol to share this important information.  It is our responsibility to understand exactly how big of a problem we are facing before we discuss the best way to address it.”

In discussing funding for Arizona’s highways, streets and road maintenance, Kristine Ward, Chief Financial Officer of the Arizona Department of Transportation, confirmed, “We have greater needs than we have revenues to meet those needs.”  

Wards presentation noted that while the number of lanes in Arizona have increased by 32%, the purchasing power of the state’s gas tax has dropped by 48%. She concluded that since 1990, there has been a 19% increase in fuel efficiency vehicles leading to $102 million in lost gas tax revenues.

In his presentation, Dallas Hammit, State Engineer and Deputy Director for Transportation for Arizona Department of Transportation, placed the current revenue gap to address the 25-year needs of highways including preservation, modernization and expansion at $30.5 billion.  He also stated that preservation and maintenance is the biggest concern for Arizona citizens.

ADOT’s presentation also demonstrated that only 59% of the states bridges are in “good condition” with 40% in “fair” and 1% in “poor” condition.  In comparison only 35% of the pavement in the highway system is considered in “good condition.”

"The maintenance backlog is huge," said Craig Sullivan representing the County Supervisors Association of Arizona. “Counties are responsible for 20,000 road miles in this state and 1,000 bridges the lifeblood of the resource to maintain those roads and bridges is the HURF distribution. There are real problems in the ongoing funding model to provide resources at the local level.”

“The biggest need out there, as we heard with the counties, is what ADOT described as ‘preservation.’  It’s the maintenance backlog we are also experiencing at the city and town level,” said Tom Belshe representing the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. Belshe also confirmed that the league is 2/3rds complete of their survey of Arizona’s cities and towns and the unidentified and identified maintenance backlog is already up to $3.1 billion.

Chairman Noel Campbell concluded, “These officials representing multiple level of governments confirmed what many of us already knew – the State of Arizona is dramatically underfunded when it comes to road maintenance.”