By Corinne Murdock |
The city of Phoenix decided Wednesday to spend $10 million every year until they achieve zero traffic-related fatalities — likely ad infinitum. The council passed the Vision Zero Road Safety Action Plan (RSAP) by a unanimous vote.
Approval of the RSAP wasn’t anticipated this soon. Mayor Kate Gallego disclosed during the Wednesday meeting that the council expedited the plan in order to qualify for federal funds. Those funds would come from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s Safe Streets for All (SS4A) grants, established under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) with an application deadline of September 15.
The $10 million comes from several different avenues: $3 million from the general fund, $2 million from Transportation 2050 Fund, and $5 million from the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund (AHERF). It’s part of a national network of 53 Democratic cities: the Vision Zero Network. Tempe joined as well. The network supports Buttigieg’s SS4A initiative.
The Vision Zero Network is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, a left-leaning grantmaking institution whose funding comes from a variety of left-leaning nonprofits such as the Grove Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the NoVo Foundation.
The city council approved the incorporation of the Vision Zero goals in January.
According to the city’s data, less than 200 traffic-related fatalities occur on average in Phoenix every year. The deaths are generally disparate in nature.
In a statement to AZ Free News, Phoenix City Council candidate Sam Stone claimed that Gallego and the council were purposefully worsening the roadways through RSAP in order to increase demand for public transportation. Ridership for buses, light rail, and other forms of public transit have decreased steadily over the years, likely due to sanitation and crime concerns.
“It doesn’t matter what Mayor Gallego and the Council majority call it, this is still Vision Zero — taking away driving lanes, reducing speeds to 25 mph, and loading the city with automated ticket machines,” warned Stone. “It’s the left’s plan to make driving so inconvenient that everyone (except themselves, of course) is forced to ride the bus. And it’s a gridlock-inducing failure everywhere it’s been tried.”
That $10 million expenditure is flexible. The plan is subject to change, or will function as a “living document,” as confirmed during Wednesday’s meeting by Kini Knudson, director of the Streets Transportation Department. Gallego was visibly excited about the plan’s passage, as were the other council members.
“It’ll be an important year for traffic safety in Phoenix,” said Gallego.
11 citizens will assist with the development of the RSAP through a Vision Zero Community Advisory Committee.