Arizona Senate passes Proposition 400, heads to Gov. Katie Hobbs’ desk

Jul 31, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 9:18 pm

Arizona Highways...

Arizona Highway (Flickr/Alan Stark)

(Flickr/Alan Stark)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate passed Proposition 400 Monday and it’s heading to Governor Katie Hobbs’ desk.

The transportation tax bill addresses transportation funding in Maricopa County, which is experiencing rapid population growth.

Prop. 400 is a half-cent sales tax originally approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985. In 2004, voters approved to extend the sales tax for transportation for an additional 20 years to 2026.

Once the bill is signed, it would allow county voters to decide in the 2024 election if they want to extend the county transportation tax.

If approved, it would require Maricopa County to levy and the Arizona Department of Transportation to collect transportation tax for another 20 years starting on Jan. 1, 2026.

Hobbs reacted to the passage of SB1102 stating the bipartisan leaders invested in the state’s future.

“The passage of the Proposition 400 ballot measure will secure the economic future of our state and create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs for Arizonans,” Hobbs said in a statement.

“These critical infrastructure investments will build and attract businesses and make Arizona the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

Money from the tax is deposited into the Regional Area Road Fund (RARF) and distributed to freeways, highways and street improvements.

A total of 40.5% of RARF revenue will go toward freeways and state highways while 22.5% for major arterial streets. In addition, 37% will go to the Public Transporation Fund, which goes toward the maintenance and operation of public transportation and light rail.

SB1102 set apart $4.5 million from the state general fund in the fiscal year 2023-2024 to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

The money will be used for improvements to the interchange at State Route 303 and U.S. Route 60.

“This legislation is how we will continue to support our region’s record growth, and with approval from our voters, its passage will ultimately mean that we can deliver on improved and expanded transit and transportation services that connect county residents to jobs, education and more,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said a statement.

Although Prop. 400 advanced, Gallego expressed her disappointment with parts of the legislation — specifically, those having to do city and public transportation funding.

“I remain disappointed that this critical legislation was coupled with an effort to cut revenue to cities, including Phoenix, as soon as in the next budget year,” Gallego said.

“As such, I cannot and will not support any action that would take away the power of cities to levy a residential rental tax, as this revenue is how we fund public safety hiring, improvements to parks and preserves and neighborhood public safety grants.”

Senate Republicans expressed excitement about the modified proposal that passed through both chambers of the legislature.

“The $24 billion plan now has realistic guardrails in place to make certain taxpayer funds are used to fulfill the needs of our taxpayers and not of special interest groups or bureaucrats,” state Sen. David Farnsworth, chairman of the senate committee on Transportation and Technology said in a press release.

The bill prohibits public money from being used to extend light rail service in Phoenix.

“Cities with bus lines not being routinely used by our citizens will not continue to receive Prop. 400 funds. Additionally, there will be no expansion of the wildly unpopular light rail within Maricopa County using Prop. 400 monies,” Farnsworth said.

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Arizona Senate passes Proposition 400, heads to Gov. Katie Hobbs’ desk