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US, Arizona Leaders Discuss Tough Questions About Future Of Transportation

Transportation panelists
(Photo by Matthew Casey - KJZZ)
Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez (from left), Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Mike Hammond with the Pima Association of Governments Regional Council, ADOT Director John Halikowski, Maricopa Mayor Christian Price and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

As populations grow and existing infrastructure ages, there are difficult questions about the future of transportation in Arizona and the United States.

With that in mind, officials from across the state gathered in Phoenix on Monday to brainstorm with U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez.

Mendez, the former head of the Arizona Department of Transportation, was joined by five panelists for a discussion that lasted about an hour.

Their discussion focused on trends outlined in a draft report called "Beyond Traffic." The 322-page document focuses on 11 megaregions throughout the country and what their transportation needs might look like in 30 years. The Phoenix area and Tucson are part of the Arizona Sun Corridor that stretches into Mexico.

States often rely on federal funding for transportation projects. But congressional dysfunction in Washington, D.C., has left questions about the future.
 
Arizona could learn from other states that have funded plans and the Legislature could make it easier for local governments to follow to suit, said panelist and city of Maricopa Mayor Christian Price.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.