A new leadership group in Pinal County sees a fastclosing window of opportunity to locate new transportation corridors in the area.
"We can right now, but it’s growing so fast that we won’t be able to in two years," said Jordan Rose, an attorney and founding member of the Pinal Partnership. "We have a unique opportunity to plan a new freeway route."
Transportation has become the partnership’s top priority since its inaugural meeting in September, Rose said. The hot topic will be the focus of the organization’s third meeting on Dec. 9 when Victor Mendez, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, is the guest speaker.
The department is considering siting a freeway or parkway from U.S. 60 in Apache Junction to Interstate 10 in Eloy, Rose said.
"It’s a great sign that ADOT is taking Pinal County and the potential for problems seriously and attempting to solve the problems before the population in its entirety gets there," she said. "We’re going to avoid those issues we’re seeing on the front page of the paper about Ahwatukee if at all possible."
More than 2,000 Ahwatukee Foothills residents have recently protested a freeway planned for that area because it would cut through homes built after it was mapped out.
Supervisor Sandie Smith, D-District 2 of Gold Canyon said the Pinal Partnership can help avoid freeway controversies because the group will bring landowners to the table for planning talks.
The county is also involved in small area transportation studies to facilitate seamless planning between the county and its municipalities. "The state can put in the major spines, but then we need to do the arteries," Smith said.
Rose said the Partnership hopes to ensure consistency not only in transportation planning, but also between the county’s comprehensive land-use plan and the general plans of its cities.
The group is also fundraising to eventually be able to hire permanent staff and an executive director.
Rose said the director’s annual salary would be between $40,000 and $60,000 and that applicants for the position must live in the county.
The group plans to name a director in early 2006.
The newly formed Pinal Partnership is having its third breakfast meeting on Dec. 9. The first two earlier this fall were sold-out events with more than 250 people at each.
The 7:30 a.m. meeting is at the Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, 777 N. Pinal Avenue. Call (480) 982-3313 for reservations. The cost is $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers.
Find membership forms and more information at