The Arizona Public Interest Research Group is an independent voice for consumers. Arizona PIRG documents problems, advocates for solutions and stands up to powerful interests when they threaten our health and safety, our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democracy. We oppose Proposition 105 in Phoenix for the harm that ending any future rail would bring and we are not alone.
The list of opponents to Prop. 105 is emblematic of Phoenix and continues to grow.
Household names including AARP Arizona and Ability 360, respectively known for their advocacy on behalf of senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, urge Phoenix voters to Vote No on Prop. 105 to keep light rail an important transportation option for those they represent, on track.
Arizona Forward and Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities encourage No on Prop. 105 in order to proceed with light rail and create healthier and more vibrant communities. Community groups from south to north Phoenix, including the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, Downtown Voices Coalition and Urban Phoenix Project oppose Prop. 105 so that Phoenix residents can more readily connect with one another and obtain and maintain a better quality of life.
Leading public health organizations, including the American Heart Association in Arizona and Arizona Public Health Association, also oppose Prop. 105. Through light rail, fewer cars are on the road, which means less air pollution and fewer adverse public health impacts such as asthma and heart failure, which disproportionately impacts children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems. In addition, Sierra Club and Chispa disapprove of Prop. 105 due to the detrimental environmental effects of halting all future rail projects.
Arizona Transit Association and All Aboard Arizona view Prop. 105 as an attack on transportation choices. Arizona Transit Association and All Aboard Arizona want to protect rail as a viable way for employees to get to work; students to get to school; and family and friends to connect with each other as well as to attend various events.
Public interest organizations, such as ours, recognize the myriad reasons for Phoenix voters to reject Prop. 105, including the ability for consumers to save money. When the cost of operating and maintaining a vehicle is taken into account, it is less expensive to ride light rail than to drive. By using light rail in Phoenix, consumers can avoid the stress of driving and sitting in traffic, which can also help to decrease congestion for drivers.
Well-known champions of business interests, including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Phoenix Community Alliance, LISC Phoenix, and Valley Partnership are also asking Phoenix voters to just say No to Prop. 105. Business and labor leaders, including those at the Arizona AFL-CIO and AFSCME 2960, understand the economic, employer and employee benefits that light rail brings to the Valley.
And yes, in addition to the vast thumbs down to Prop. 105 outlined above, there’s more. Mayor Kate Gallego, the last five elected mayors of Phoenix, the vast majority of the Phoenix City Council, United Phoenix Fire Fighters, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, Friends of the Phoenix Public Library and a rapidly increasing number of other local community and business leaders urge a no vote on Prop. 105.
The out-of-state interests pushing Prop. 105 would like you to believe that the only folks who support light rail are the people who financially profit from light rail. As you can see, that notion could not be farther from the truth.
Phoenix Voters: Vote no on Prop. 105. Protect light rail. Protect our community.
Diane E. Brown is the executive director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) and convener of the Coalition for Transportation Choices.
Correction: A previous version of this commentary erroneously stated Valley Leadership is calling for a No vote on Proposition 105. Valley Leadership has taken no position on the issue. The correct organization is Valley Partnership.