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Proposition 105 and 106 are bad for Phoenix

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The City of Phoenix is heading in the right direction. We have a strong community of residents, volunteers, staff, and city councilmembers who work hard every day to protect the quality of life for our residents.  Our successes are one of the key reasons that our region is the fastest growing in the country and the Federal Transit Authority just announced an investment of $100 million in our South Central Rail Corridor.

Things are going well for Phoenix, but that all could change if several out of state, dark money interests get their way.  These outside groups have perpetrated a coordinated attack on Phoenix’s future in the form of Propositions 105 and 106, which are crafted to thwart the will of the voters, tie the hands of our leaders, cut critical city services, and kill smart investments in our city’s future.

Debra Stark

Debra Stark

In short, Proposition 105 and Proposition 106 are bad for Phoenix and we encourage all voters to vote No on both.

Light rail has proven track record of elevating lives by connecting our communities and creating new opportunities. Of the nearly 50,000 riders each day, roughly 30 percent are headed to school and 30 percent are headed to work, and that number will only grow when planned expansions are up and running.

Over 35,000 jobs have been created within 1/2-mile of light rail since 2008 and the number of tech companies in the Phoenix Metro area has increased more than 300 percent in the last five years.  Denser urban cores along the line, such as downtown Mesa, have seen significant revitalization with the first new for-sale or rental multi-family developed in over 30 years, dozens of new projects planned representing more than $500 million in investment, and increased activity at Mesa’s Downtown Arts and Innovation District.

There is no doubt that we must continue to do more to encourage affordable housing along the proposed corridors and protect the vibrancy of the impacted communities. However, there is no denying that this new connectivity is driving our economy, bringing billions of dollars in economic development, tens of thousands of jobs, and new opportunities to our city.

Proposition 105 stops all light rail construction and kills light rail plans already approved by voters three times. The light rail system and its planned extensions have been planned for over a decade, and were approved by voters in 2000, 2004, and 2015. The public has been heavily engaged in this planning effort, with more than 500 public meetings held to gather input.

Proposition 105 throws this planning out the window and permanently prohibits Phoenix from investing in any kind of rail project – including light rail, commuter rail, or other potential train connections. It turns away billions of dollars in proposed federal money dedicated to transit that is slated to come to Phoenix.  Not only would tens of millions of tax dollars already invested in these approved extensions be wasted, but hundreds of millions of dollars in federal investment could skip Phoenix and go to other cities, such as Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City.

Hailed as a budgeting effort, the truth is Proposition 106 is designed for one purpose only: to slash essential services that Phoenix families rely on like our libraries, parks, and educational programming.  The proposal is poorly written and deeply flawed.  It has internal contradictions and mistakes, which make it unenforceable.

Laura Pastor

Laura Pastor

The fact is, Phoenix is on track to pay down all pension debt, responsibly, over the next 25 years. Phoenix is not living beyond its means, kept its budget balanced, and has managed to find a balance between providing essential services to city residents and paying down pension debt. Proposition 106 is reckless and is the equivalent of demanding a homeowner pay their entire mortgage at once.

If it passes, it will be a confusing mess held up in courts for years. It will cost the Phoenix taxpayers hundreds of thousands in legal fees, prevent investment in important programs like parks and libraries, and hinder real progress on pension reform.

With this poorly worded proposal, if another downturn hit, Phoenix would never be able to re-invest and restore services if it were forced to make cuts. These cuts themselves will hamper our economic development, creating a vicious cycle.

As you can see, Propositions 105 and 106 are nothing short of a coordinated attack on Phoenix’s future.  That is why they are opposed by a wide variety of community members, non-profit organizations, neighborhood groups, workers, elected officials and business leaders from across the political spectrum.

We ask you to join us in voting No on or before August 27. To join our coalition or donate to the campaign, visit www.investinphx.org for more information.

Debra Stark and Laura Pastor, who are councilmembers of the City of Phoenix, co-chair Invest in PHX, which opposes Propositions 105 and 106

10 comments

  1. And of course these council members don’t care what the cost is. Cost overruns are exorbitant and have more than doubled the estimates.
    Why do the these fiscally irresponsible leaders insist on following the losing policies of California? Like their bullet train to nowhere.

    Not to mention the businesses along Central ave that will be destroyed in the process.

    Vote yes on Props 105 and 106 to get our streets back in usable condition.

  2. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME! This article is NONSENSE! Almost 80% of phoenicians DO NOT WANT or ride the lightrail! When is the last time the author of this article rode it? It messes with traffic, its a rolling AC for homeless.. this is only for more people to line there pockets!

  3. Deb Stark is a Wild-eyed liberal, who never met an expenditure, that she never liked! She managed to slip into her council seat, in a conservative district, when Bill Gates decided he wanted to be a County supervisor.
    So, of course, the other city councilmen, a majority Democrats, put one of their own in, a seat held by Republicans for years! Once in, it was hard to remove her, since City races are supposed to be “non-partisan”! So if people don’t make an effort to determine their party, a ringer Democrat slipped into office!!
    We need fiscally conservative REPUBLICAN to take her seat and stop all of this wasteful spending!! The Trolley Folly is a huge boondoggle, that should be replaced with city busses…again!

    VOTE YES ON PROP 105 AND 106!!!

    Paul Gorman

  4. One of the most important elements of a politician’s job is to be wise and efficient with the public’s resources and transportation is a key component of the city’s spending plans. Compared to other forms of public transit, light rail is the most disruptive, least flexible, and—by far—the most expensive per passenger mile. And while council members try to make it sound like huge numbers of people are deriving its benefits, the truth is that only 1% of commuters in the metro area use light rail and it has severely impacted the daily activities of the other 99% of us.

    Anyone who remembers the Camelback corridor before light rail can see that the promise of an economic boost comes at the cost of devastating the existing businesses along its routes.

    When the region’s demographics change, as they certainly will over the next 20+ years, buses, automobiles and other methods of getting around will easily adapt. But not light rail, which is stuck where the tracks were laid decades ago. Buses move people at a fraction of the cost of light rail and can be added or removed from service as needed.

    Politicians who are more concerned about having Phoenix follow the model of other large, congested cities while seeking as much outside money as possible to bolster their private ambitions are not serving the people of this city, they are merely looking for another feather in their collective hats. It’s time to recognize this expensive and inflexible system for the business-killing boondoggle it is.

  5. Frederick Rivers

    I was born in Phoenix in 1938 and rode the streetcar to Kenilworth school until it was discontinued. While in the 5th grade the city paved over the tracks; buses were more flexible and routes could be changed as needed. The light rail boondoggle was pushed through by politicians who get campaign contributions from the various entities who will profit from the construction of the system and the hardware needed. The lightrail has destroyed not only many merchants but the beauty of Central Avenue. The design as far as I can see was originally to move students from the ASU campus in Tempe to the Phoenix downtown campus and then to the westside campus. Get the taxpayers to pay for this! So, 50,000 riders use this system out of a conservative total population of well over 2 million. A yes vote on 105 will save tons of money for taxpayers and will not inconvenience anyone except the politicians.

  6. Catherine Lucke

    As a resident of south Phoenix, I’ve seen the result of poor transportation planning in the increased traffic, poorly planned streets, and awful sidewalks. I ride on the packed and broken bus route 0 down central every day. Baseline, Central, 7th Ave and 7th St will only get worse once more housing in is developed. South Phoenix deserves options not moratoriums on future planning. Vote NO on prop 105, to allow for future planning for increased population density and full multi-modal options.

    On another note, none of these commentators seem to take into account that Maricopa county is an Ozone non-attainment area for which on-road motor vehicles contribute over half of the precursor pollutants. Light rail is a part of the Ozone solution which has the by-product of increased health through reducing vehicle particulate pollutants, increasing pedestrian activity, and allowing for greater mobility for low income/disabled residents. Why should citizens vote for a proposition that will damage their and their children’s future?

  7. 30% ride light rail to school 30% ride it to work 40% ride without paying live on the streets.

  8. Discerning voters with vision are voting NO on props 105 & 106.

  9. Born and raised in Chicago and all you have to do is take a look at what the liberal spending and stealing of tax payer money has done to tax payers. Pensions are Billions in debt and the state is broke because there were never any safe guards put in place. Officials took the pensions as loans for their own “services” pocketing the money.

    Here is a nice fact… my property taxes are 13,000 per year for a 2800 sq ft house. You think thats reasonable?

    Its because of teacher unions and other city service unions forcing municipalities to pay more and to pay back pensions. The new governor is raising income taxes, legalized pot, adding casinos and doubled the gas tax. All to steal more money by giving it away to any insider business deal.

    Look at California, another hole like Illinois.

    Im leaving Illinois in a couple of years and was hoping to live in AZ.

    Again, take a GOOD LOOK AT ILLINOIS and CHICAGO people. Your headed in that direction by not supporting both props

    VOTE YES for Prop 105 and 106

  10. Admittedly not a big reader of the Capitol Times, but damn, there’s a ton of flawed reasoning in this op-ed for a paper supposedly an expert on local political issues.
    Bragging about the proven track record of light rail is insane. The first rail line not to become a burden on its community will be the first. And we are seeing the Peter Principle up close and personal right here in Phoenix. If anyone ever did build a line that paid for itself or benefited the community as a whole, politicians would expand it until that was no longer the case.
    So here we are fighting about expanding a system that never was a success. As for the supposed economic growth along the line, it is completely irrelevant unless you can show it increased growth Valleywide overall and didn’t just steal growth from areas farther from the rail line.
    Like I said, poor reasoning. It may very well be the rail line DID increase overall growth, but you wouldn’t know it from this op-ed.
    I’m not saying the people pf Phoenix should vote one way or the other, only that this op-ed doesn’t make a logical case for anything.

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