Growth in Pinal County
- Population has grown from 180,000 in 2000 to 400,000 in 2015. Population has more than doubled in 15 years. It is projected to increase far more in future years.
- Travel from Phoenix to Tucson has increased.
- There is a need for a high capacity route to get from the north to the south portions of the County.
- I-10 is the main route from Phoenix to Tucson. There is not a good alternative. Thirty miles of I-10 is still two lanes each direction.
- There are inadequate connections to I-10 from local routes and businesses.
- The east-west routes are primarily two lane roads or dirt roads. There is not a good way to travel east-west through Pinal County.
- SR347 from Maricopa to Phoenix is heavily congested on a daily basis.
- The San Tan Valley has limited options for transportation.
- More job creation in Casa Grande is creating more need for transportation infrastructure.
Transportation Safety and Mobility
- In the last 10 years there have been 323 fatal crashes within Pinal County. There have been 878 serious injury accidents and a total of 19,159 accidents. The number of fatal and serious accidents continue to rise.
- Models that were completed in 2015 indicated that if nothing is done, 47% of all vehicle hours traveled will be in a congested condition by 2040. Implementing regional improvements reduces this number to 20%.
- Maricopa, Casa Grande, Florence and San Tan Valley as well as others were undergoing significant growth until the downturn in the economy. The economy is slowly returning, but job creation and economic development are still a key issue.
- Site selectors look at transportation infrastructure as a key component.
Lack of State and Federal Funding
- Federal funding is flat with very little opportunity for increased spending. Because of declining proceeds from federal fuel taxes, the Highway Trust Fund has been falling short since 2005, and has depended on transfers from the General Fund of the Treasury to stay afloat.
- Arizona's excise taxes on gas and diesel fuels have not been increased since 1991.
- In order to balance the State budget, the legislature has swept transportation funds. Since 2001, over $1.8 billion has been diverted from the State Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) to pay for other governmental programs.
- State transportation funds are used primarily for preservation and maintenance of existing roadways. There is very little funding available for new construction.
- Recently Arizona Department of Transportation leaders have said they have an "800 year" backlog of projects.
Significant number of studies have been completed, but limited funding to further the design or construction of projects
- More than 16 different transportation studies were completed within Pinal County in the last 10 years. There are over 2,000 pages worth of studies.
- There have been regional studies completed to look at the North-South Corridor, the East-West Corridor, the I-11 and Intermountain West Corridor and the Hidden Valley Area. In addition CAG has completed a Regional Transportation Plan.
- Pinal County has completed a PARA study for Southern Pinal County, a Small Area Transportation Study for the entire County and a Regionally Significant Routes for Safety and Mobility Study for the entire County.
- A number of cities and towns have also completed studies (i.e., Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, Casa Grande, Maricopa and Apache Junction)
Source: Pinal County Government, 2017