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Scottsdale Projects at Risk in Prop 400 Debate

By June 7, 2023No Comments

By Sam Kmack | Arizona Republic

An end to Proposition 400 is a daunting prospect for nearly every community in the region that has depended on it for decades to fund crucial transportation and transit projects, but in Scottsdale, it might not be the end of the world.

The ballot measure’s countywide half-cent sales tax was first approved by voters in 1985 and then extended for another 20-year term in 2004. It has generated tens of billions of dollars for the region’s transportation network while also helping to unlock billions more in federal grants.

The sales tax is set to expire, and state officials haven’t agreed on a renewal option to send to voters since Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed a bill last year. That leaves the November 2024 election as the final chance to get voter approval before Proposition 400 sunsets at the end of 2025.

Debate in the state Legislature will continue this month on how to spend the revenue generated from extending the half-cent sales tax. Discussions by lawmakers have been tumultuous, with much of the contentiousness centering on public transit funding. Any bill on Proposition 400 must be signed into law by Gov. Katie Hobbs before it goes to voters.

Scottsdale is a very different city with far less to lose than many of its peers. It won’t receive much more than $500 million worth of projects over the next 25 years under a new Proposition 400.

The largely upscale suburb has never been big on transit, which depends heavily on the revenue from the tax for survival.

But the city still could take a hit on projects that might not be funded, including:

  • $184 million in roadway widening projects on city streets.
  • $97 million in roadway reconstruction.
  • $38 million for new roadways and the new Legacy Boulevard Bridge from 94th to 98th streets.
  • Most of the city’s transit funding and likely all of the bus routes that connect Scottsdale to other cities.

“We would still be able to run our own (local transit) service, but the regional connections would be very minimal, if any,” said Mark Melnychenko, Scottsdale’s transportation and streets director. “That would be drastically cut.”

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