Survey: Metro Phoenix Voters Support Transportation Tax

Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 3:56pm
Updated: Monday, April 19, 2021 - 11:30am

The Maricopa Association of Governments is laying the groundwork to extend — or potentially increase — a regional transportation tax.

Based on a survey conducted earlier this year, MAG said nearly 65% of likely voters in Maricopa County supported extending a half-cent sales tax for regional transportation projects. And more than 40% of those surveyed supported a higher tax. 

“I think what that tells us is we have a lot of room to tell a story and begin a conversation with our voters who see a high level of importance on transportation investments for their prosperity, as well as the region’s, as well as the quality of life that comes with those transportation investments,” said Audra Koester Thomas, MAG transportation planning program manager.

Top priorities among supporters were evenly split between light rail (22%), highways and freeways (22%), and streets and roads (21%). 

Thomas told MAG’s Economic Development Committee that emerging technologies are another area of interest. In its survey, 75% of respondents agreed that it is important to prepare for future transportation technologies and innovations.

“This is consistent with what our elected officials have been telling us and the direction we’ve been heading, setting aside funding for those future investments that we may not be aware of today or know what those discrete investment might look like but knowing that we need to develop a flexible, forward-looking plan to have government respond and be nimble in those circumstances,” she said.

MAG is working on a list of project and program priorities using two scenarios: a continuation of the half-cent sales tax and a one-cent sales tax. Voters will likely see the issue on the November 2022 ballot. 

In 1985, Maricopa County voters originally approved a half-cent sales tax to fund regional transportation projects. In 2004, voters approved Proposition 400, which extended the tax for 20 years. It is set to expire in 2025.

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