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Proposition 104 on Phoenix election ballot is hot topic for city leaders

A transportation plan is one of the most talked about propositions on the election ballot in Phoenix on Tuesday.

If approved, Proposition 104 would create .07 percent tax for the next 35 years to pay for the $31 billion plan that would add 42 miles to the light rail system in Phoenix.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says it would do much more than that.  “It would triple the amount of light rails.  There would be a significant improvement in the amount of bus and dial-a-ride service.  There would also be street improvements.  We’ve fallen behind on that during the recession,” said Stanton.  “Oh, by the way, if you like biking, it will add 1,000 miles of bike lanes in the city of Phoenix.”

Stanton calls Prop 104 the most ambitious transportation plan in Phoenix history, and says it would be a big benefit to the city.  “(It will be) getting people to educational opportunities, getting them to jobs, creating economic development opportunities.  Bar none, it’s going to be awesome,” the Mayor said.

The Mayor is confident that voters will approve Proposition 104.  “When this plan is passed, hundreds of thousands of people will be able to connect to education or to employment centers, increasing their job prospects and the locations where they can realistically find jobs,” Stanton said.

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio totally disagrees with Stanton.  He believes that Proposition 104 is too expensive, and that only a few people will be riding light rail and buses because of it.

“Proposition 104 is a complete scam on the taxpayers,” DiCiccio said.  “The light rail is going to cost $161 million per mile to build and operate.  It’s outrageous, and it only benefits less than 1 percent of the population.”

DiCiccio claims that Stanton and other supporters of Proposition 104 are trying to deceive voters.  “The language in the ballot initiative literally says that they ‘MAY’ spend $31 and a half billion dollars on these projects.  It’s just a way for politicians to grease the pockets of their pals.”

DiCiccio said that the wording of the proposition leaves open the possibility that city leaders won’t spend the money on transportation.    “They don’t even have to spend the money on anything.  They can just spend it on anything that they want,” he said.

He thinks that Stanton and others will actually spend the money somewhere else.  “They’re going to end up spending it on consultants, and a lot of their friends, and on people who are the ones that are pouring money into their campaigns.  That’s where this money’s going to go,” said DiCiccio.

DiCiccio is urging voters to vote no on Proposition 104, even if they believe that the transportation system in Phoenix needs to be improved.

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