A bill being pushed by Queen Creek to help communities choked with chronic traffic congestion is traveling through the Arizona Legislature.
HB2152 calls for a program previously known as LCAT — for Local Circulation Arterial Transportation — to provide regional funding to address transportation issues in the gateway areas that bog down the commute to economic centers.
The bill passed through the House Transportation Committee on a 9-1 vote in February. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, and Queen Creek lobbyist Michael Williams is working to get the bill approved.
Queen Creek officials are quick to point out that while the money would benefit the town, it’s a bigger picture proposal that would aid all communities on the outer reaches of the Valley.
“There’s a little educating that we need to do,” said Mark Young, Queen Creek’s intergovernmental liaison. “Some of the legislators believe this is a Queen Creek earmark, and it’s not. There’s about a dozen cities that qualify for it and three or four counties that qualify. It just happened that Queen Creek is the one that is pushing this.”
Town studies have shown that 75 percent of traffic in Queen Creek comes in the form of pass-through traffic from Pinal County.
Queen Creek Mayor Art Sanders along with the Town Council have pledged $100 million to road improvements, but Sanders and interim Town Manager John Kross say the town is still $150 million short to bring the roads up to speed with the booming population.
“We are very appreciative of Representative Biggs for stepping up and pushing it through committee,” Sanders said. “If this goes through, it would be a regional solution to a regional problem. We’re still early on in the session, but the fact that this is still alive is a tribute to Andy Biggs.”
Biggs couldn’t be reached for comment, but Young said it may be some time before they learn the bill’s fate.
“Right now they’re working on budgets for the state agencies,” Young said. “Once that is done, they start looking at bills.”
No matter what the result, Young said he’s pleased the idea has gotten as far as it has.
“If we’re not successful in this bill, we’ve at least gotten legislators to realize what Queen Creek and other communities are up against,” he said. “We need a little extra support.”