Phoenix Wants To Eliminate Parking Spaces In Another Ridiculous Push To Become A 15-Minute City

Phoenix Wants To Eliminate Parking Spaces In Another Ridiculous Push To Become A 15-Minute City

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

How much do you like to walk in 110-degree heat? If you’re a resident of the city of Phoenix, you may need to start getting used to it if the city council gets its way.

proposed ordinance in Phoenix is looking to significantly reduce the minimum number of parking spaces it requires for apartments. Currently, Phoenix requires a minimum of 150 parking spaces for every 100 one or two-bedroom apartments. Under the proposed ordinance, that number would decrease to 125 spaces. But that’s not the end of it. For new affordable apartment complexes near light rail stations, the requirement for most would be reduced to zero! Yes. Zero parking spaces at an apartment complex. Have you caught on to their agenda yet?

If you’ve been keeping score, you already know that—in just this year—climate change zealots have been seeking to prohibit gas stoves; put limits on things like lawn and garden equipment, motorized boating, and water heaters; and ban the internal combustion engine. Now, this latest attempt to reduce parking spaces makes it clear. They want to force you out of your air-conditioned car to walk in 110-degree heat with your reward being to wait for a bus or light rail. But that’s not all…

>>> CONTINUE READING >>> 

AZ Republic Rescue Attempt Of MAG Prop 400 Plan Won’t Work

AZ Republic Rescue Attempt Of MAG Prop 400 Plan Won’t Work

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

The Prop 400 package put together by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is in serious trouble at the legislature, and Katie Hobbs and the transit lobby knows it. So, in a desperate attempt to rescue their defective plan, they have phoned a friend to see if a little legacy media pressure will improve their flagging fortunes at the Capitol.

In recent weeks, the AZ Republic has unleashed a torrent of articles and opinion pieces attempting to scare the legislature into sending their transit slush fund package up to Hobbs’ desk. Most of their writings have been nothing more than recycled talking points from MAG and transit industry lobbyists attacking conservative lawmakers and critics (like the Club) for opposing a plan that slashes freeway funding and increases traffic congestion in the region.

A couple weeks ago it was in the form of an editorial that claimed to disprove our Prop 400 criticism by “relitigating” the merits of bus and light rail and proving its value in the region. And now over the weekend, their opinion writers couldn’t race out fast enough to promote the press release issued by Katie Hobbs and the transit lobby that the legislature needs to adopt a fake “compromise” MAG plan.

In short, their efforts to “relitigate” the merits of transit or to declare that there is any type of “compromise” only demonstrate how radical their position really is.

Here are just a few examples of how the Republic has veered from journalism to being nothing more than a lobbying arm of the transit lobby:

>>> CONTINUE READING >>>

Maricopa Association Of Governments Conceals True Intent Of Prop 400 Plan

Maricopa Association Of Governments Conceals True Intent Of Prop 400 Plan

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Last legislative session our organization led the opposition to the Maricopa Association of Governments’ (MAG) Prop 400 sales tax extension, SB1356criticizing the plan for its massive expansion of transit spending, lack of oversight, and vague allocations of spending that amounted to a slush fund for government bureaucrats. It was astonishing the lack of answers we received to simple questions about the plan and how funds would be spent.

We suspected at the time that we weren’t being told the whole story and that ulterior motives were at play. Only now do we know how right we were.

Governor Ducey’s veto of MAG’s defective Prop 400 plan provided a reset of the Prop 400 debate. Coupled with new legislative leadership not beholden to MAG and the transit lobby, they could no longer avoid a debate of their unvetted proposal. So, after several months of legislative hearings and substantive meetings at the Capitol, what critical information has MAG been hiding from lawmakers and the public?

>>> CONTINUE READING >>>

Tucson Votes To Make Public Transit Free Indefinitely

Tucson Votes To Make Public Transit Free Indefinitely

By Corinne Murdock |

Tucson taxpayers are likely to be on the hook for the costs of public transit indefinitely.

The city council voted last Tuesday to make public transit free for good, according to Councilman Steve Kozachik, after three years of not charging for transportation services.

Kozachik clarified to the University of Arizona (UArizona) student newspaper that the council’s actions last week meant that they wouldn’t reinstate transit fares until the council took an affirmative vote to do so. 

The council voted to extend free public transit through this December during last Tuesday’s study session at a cost of $4.6 million. According to Kozachik, this motion was within the context of the council’s true intention to keep public transit free indefinitely. 

The council also moved to establish a task force of stakeholders to determine how to keep public transit free. Mayor Regina Romero expressed concern that the council was essentially kicking the can down the road.

“To be honest, we’re moving the item every six months, and so I think we really need to figure out what is the long-term solution,” said Romero. “If we don’t have long-term funding options, then we need to start talking about what’s a fair fare. We just need to make sure that we do have the possible stakeholders and investors in the system.”

Councilman Steve Kozachik cautioned that this strategy of holding out to inspire funding from stakeholders was likely to backfire. He added that it was “highly improbable” the council would actually move to reinstate fares after December.

“I don’t agree that us treading water on the decision about fares is necessary to get the other stakeholders to the table. I don’t agree with that as a negotiating strategy,” said Kozachik. 

Councilman Paul Cunningham raised the concern that the task force may not actually accomplish its appointed task of sourcing adequate funding or structuring the reinstatement of fares, pointing back to a three-year trend over the COVID-19 pandemic of alleged complacency and falling behind on goals due to virtual meetings.

“As much as I wish I was Obi-Wan Kenobi who could, like, use the Force to see what’s going to unfold, I can’t,” said Cunningham.

The council opted to maintain their position of free public transit, despite not having funding secured beyond December. Current funding sources for the remainder of the year, totaling $4.1 million — a $486,000 deficit, which Tucson will cover through the public Investment Plan funds — come from hotel and motel taxes, the Tucson Medical Center partnership, SunTran efficiency expense reductions, and a Visit Tucson funding formula adjustment.

UArizona also gave about $780,000 gleaned from student fees to fund the public transit. However, the estimated annual cost of public transit reaches around $11 million.

Some council members also mentioned that they’re attempting to tap Raytheon for long-term funding.

Prior to this year, federal COVID-19 relief funds covered the transit costs. Fares were scheduled to resume on January 1 of this year, but the city opted to source funds to cover the cost. 

Back in December, the council considered additional parking garage fees or property taxes to cover the transit costs.

Tucson isn’t the first city to attempt totally free transit in the state, let alone in the country. Phoenix’s Valley Metro offers free busing for its neighborhood circulators, and the first year of its streetcar services is free. The city also subsidized a limited number of free public transit passes in 2021 using $1 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

There are dozens of other cities around the country, as well as university campuses, that offer free public transit. 

As AZ Free News reported just prior to the Tucson City Council’s most recent decision, community members have criticized the three-year-long trial run of free public transit as more of a burden than a help. Locals have complained to several media outlets that the free transit enables criminal behavior and public nuisances. 

Unionized bus drivers have also complained, claiming that free transit has lowered the quality of passengers and required them to become the “transit police.” 

Watch the Tucson City Council study session here:

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

The Battle Over Highway Funding Is Coming to a Head in the Arizona Legislature

The Battle Over Highway Funding Is Coming to a Head in the Arizona Legislature

By Pat Nolan |

Arizona legislators will soon have to choose between two very different plans to spend funding from the highway sales tax originally passed in 1985. One plan, SB1246 by Senator Farnsworth, would keep faith with the promises made to voters that the sales tax would fund highways to relieve traffic congestion around Phoenix.

The alternative proposal, SB1102 by Senator Carroll, would siphon off money from road projects and instead fund “green energy” giveaways proposed by the bureaucrats at the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). SB1102 proposes to divert $2 billion from highway construction to fund bike lanes, walking trails, bus lanes, and other unspecified “special projects.” In other words, it establishes a slush fund comparable to the “Green New Deal” of the Biden Administration.

The Farnsworth bill, on the other hand, will fully fund the freeway expansions promised to the voters, and there will be no green slush fund. Also, none of the transportation money could be used to remove traffic lanes to make room for bike paths.

It also requires government-subsidized transit to operate efficiently and recover 25% of the cost from the riders, as they promised. In reality, the government-run system falls woefully short of that requirement, collecting a mere 7% currently. Senator Farnsworth’s bill will make public transit meet their revenue projections. If they fail to do so, private companies could bid to provide transit services and guarantee the revenue as promised to the voters.

The Left’s fixation with public transit has resulted in hundreds of millions pouring into the black hole of failing transit systems. Yet, despite the clear evidence that transit systems run by the government are a white elephant, they keep pumping more tax dollars into them. They cannot point to any city where the ridership has met their projections. The reason is simple. When pollsters ask the public, they say they want more public transit. However, when asked if they intend to use it, they say they have no intention of using it. They want other drivers to use transit to get those cars off the freeways.

SB1102 would help MAG pursue their far-Left agenda, which now includes imposing California-like restrictions on Arizonans, including banning the internal combustion engine and gas appliances. We must end such power grabs by the bureaucracy, and the Arizona Legislature can start by killing this bill and passing Senator Farnsworth’s SB1246.

The late, great conservative Senator Everett Dirksen famously explained the thinking of legislators when he said, “When I feel the heat, I see the light.” Taxpayers can hold legislators’ feet to the fire by telling them to vote NO on SB1102 and AYE for SB1246.

Pat Nolan is the Director Emeritus of the Nolan Center for Justice at the American Conservative Union and lives in Prescott.