OPINION: Yes on Propositions 416/417

Mayor Jeff Serdy, Apache Junction Independent |

Over the past few weeks there have been several letters/editorials appearing in local publications in opposition to ballot measures 416/417. These propositions would finally facilitate much needed infrastructure enhancements to the Apache Junction and Gold Canyon area.

Have a court date in Florence or business to transact in Tucson? Imagine jumping on the North/South interconnect where the U.S. Highway 60 freeway presently ends close to Goldfield Road and driving a straight shot to either city. Need to drop off a traveler at Phenix-Mesa Gateway Airport? Take this same interconnect and turn west onto the State Route 24 and arrive in 10 minutes.

There are more positives however, including finally jump starting the Lost Dutchman Heights project that lies in the unused state trust land to the East of this new alignment. The once talked about and much needed Gold Canyon bypass is probably never going to happen in the format it had previously been discussed in. Propositions 416/417 are the best bet to finally get a relief route to the South so that traffic could flow freely during Renaissance Festival season, or in the event of an emergency blockage.

Some concerns that have arisen are in regards to our area somehow losing its rural appeal if this infrastructure is built. If you live on an acre and a quarter or at the end of a cul-de-sac now you won’t even notice that these roads have gone in. Your lifestyle will go as it does now since this would take place in the flat creosote laden state trust land that is, as of now inaccessible behind locked gates. No present views or access to our majestic Superstitions would be impeded or blocked.

Some have stated that they don’t want growth and moved here for the quiet lifestyle. Like I stated above, that lifestyle wouldn’t change, but if you are still of working age and want to raise a family here then this highway system will be a Godsend. If we don’t keep building and growing we actually go backwards, as businesses close and fade. Look at the unfilled commercial spaces now in Gold Canyon and Apache Junction. As traffic flows and population increased it would do wonders to get these properties filled. Let’s not allow the Superstition area to become the dead end spoke of an old wheel. There are many examples of what can happen to towns and communities that don’t stay in the hub of the wheel. Just look at the formerly thriving cities that used to be along old Route 66.

Another anti-Proposition 416 talking point that I’ve heard “Would we simply be creating this highway system to be shared with the residents of Pima and Maricopa counties?” Well of course we would. Don’t we already use Maricopa County’s infrastructure every time we venture over there? We’re all in this together as far as I can see and we sure like their amenities, and soon they can share ours.

One last point before I go. President Trump has pledged a multi-billion if not trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. The way it will be allocated is that if you don’t already have plans and projects in place you won’t be getting a slice of the pie. Road projects identified in Propositions 416/417, including the North-South corridor will qualify Pinal County to get our share of federal funding. I for one am tired of California, New York and the like getting my tax dollars. Let’s bring some home.

Those who know me know that I’m about as “anti-tax” as one can be. I was even the lone dissenting vote on city council to shift the .02 percent sales tax to redo Apache Trail rather than let it sunset. I just didn’t think that we’d exhausted all of our options yet. However these ballot props are another matter and I will be voting yes. I might not go as far as saying “before time runs out”, but I do know that if we miss this opportunity to finally get in the game our chance may not come around again for a long time. How far behind other areas could we slip by then? Please consider your vote wisely on Propositions 416/417 and let’s catch up to other counties.

Jeff Serdy
Mayor
Apache Junction