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Transportation funding is neither Democrat nor Republican — it’s American

Shame on the Club for Growth.

On June 4, Washington D.C.-based Club for Growth launched a statewide television attack on transportation that also misrepresents the political persuasion of a U.S. Senate candidate. The ad suggests that anyone involved in Proposition 400 in 2004 is “a conservative impostor.”

Politicizing transportation as either conservative or liberal is a horrible injustice to Arizonans and Americans who want a better quality of life, cleaner air, less congestion, safer roads, more time with their families and a more vibrant economy for their children. It seems that the Club for Growth is more interested in keeping Arizona in the economic doldrums by pursuing tactics that scare politicians from taking proactive stands on important matters such as transportation.

Proposition 400 was referred to the ballot by an Arizona Legislature dominated by conservative Republicans. Seventy-five of the Legislature’s 90 members voted to support giving voters a chance to approve more than 300 miles of new freeways and roads. It also was approved by every Valley city council, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Arizona State Transportation Board.

The measure was absolutely not a tax increase, as the Club for Growth falsely suggests. Proposition 400 allowed county voters to extend a half-cent tax they had imposed on themselves at the ballot in 1985.

Again, this revenue was used to fund freeway and road construction — construction necessitated by Arizona’s inability to capture enough federal money for infrastructure needs. Congress has still failed to address this matter.

The measure was supported by conservative Republicans Gov. Jan Brewer (then secretary of state) and Club for Growth endorsee Matt Salmon (a congressional candidate now, but then running for governor).

Additionally, a broad range of the Valley business community supported the campaign, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Police Association, and many others.

The Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors — the nonprofit construction association that led the Yes on 400 Campaign, approved by Maricopa County voters in a 58 percent to 42 percent landslide — condemns the Club for Growth’s tactic and respectfully asks the organization discontinue these ads that distort the truth.

Members of both parties, many conservatives included, asked voters to make a tough decision to help our community and the voters said “yes.”

It wasn’t a tax increase. It was an extension. It was in no way an abandonment of any partisan principles (Republican or Democrat).

Shame on the Club for Growth.

— David Martin is president of the Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors.

 

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