Public transportation, highway improvements and economic development: they emerged equally as the top concerns among members attending a recent meeting of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
Eric Anderson, executive director of the Maricopa Association of Governments and speaker at the event, focused his remarks on developments in the Valley involving transportation, specifically for Chandler and surrounding areas.
According to a MAG report regarding recent polls, said Anderson, “The freeway system, great connectivity, and a variety of [public transit] options is what people like most about the transportation system in the region.”
Based on the same regional polls, the biggest plus and-minus aspects of transportation for Valley residents has been traffic congestion and road construction. According to Anderson, the highway systems and policies for transportation in the Valley are relatively new, and must remain a priority to sustain the growing population.
“Our highway system is key to not only our economic development but to quality of life here,” Anderson said. Proposition 400, a transportation tax for Maricopa County, devotes approximately a third of the revenue to public transit, 56% to highways and 10% to improving city streets.
“Chandler in particular has done very well by this program; we’re finding a lot of street improvements in Chandler,” Anderson noted.
East Valley residents will also continue to see highway improvements as the county invests in construction on the Loop 101 Price Freeway and 202 South Mountain Freeway.
As traffic congestion occurs after these projects open in 2020, improvements to Highway 143, as well as some areas on I-10, will see approximately $700 million in construction investments, according to MAG. The start of work was delayed until the opening of Loop 202 in order to accommodate for the anticipated influx of traffic, as it will become a “very messy project,” said Anderson.
Among area business owners and members of the Chandler Chamber, State Representative Mitzi Epstein and Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke were among guests on hand to show their support of the growing economy.
“We’re continuing to work on our roads. I’m promising a 2-year hiatus of Arizona Avenue and downtown – let’s breathe, let’s take a break and kind of let our shops and stores grow.”
In his update on the city, Mayor Hartke expressed his excitement for a new parking garage opening near the Historic Downtown district as well as a few new shops opening to the public.
Chamber planners say they also will host an event on the current state of higher education with ASU President Michael Crow on Thursday, Oct. 17.
For more information on upcoming events visit http://www.chandlerchamber.com.
Information regarding upcoming transportation projects can be found at https://www.azmag.gov/Programs/Transportation.