Study Finds Extensive Flaws in Plan to Extend Sales Tax for Expanding Light Rail in Maricopa County

Arizona Free Enterprise Club released a new report criticizing the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) proposed plan for the Prop. 400 half-cent tax.

The Prop. 400 half-cent tax, which started in 1985 to pay for public transit and then light rail in Maricopa County, faces strong opposition every time it comes up for renewal.

The report said the MAG’s proposal fails to consider the permanent transformation of society due to COVID-19, which significantly reduced the number of workers using public transit as people shifted to working from home and remained there.

Randal O’Toole, a transportation scholar who authored the report, stated that the number of cars has increased on the roads, surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels. “In the Phoenix urban area, for example, telecommuting tripled between 2019 and 2021, which in turn reduced transit ridership by more than 40 percent,” he said. “However, it increased Phoenix-area driving by nearly 20 percent.” Now, Phoenix residents “do more than 95 percent of their passenger travel by automobile.”

In Phoenix, public transit carries less than 1 percent of travel. Yet, transit advocates who call for “balanced transportation funding” don’t mean they would allocate it to reflect that proportion, O’Toole said. MAG’s proposed plan allocates 27 percent to public transit and 65.7 percent of funds to freeways, streets, and bridges.

Read the rest of the article at The Arizona Sun Times

Phoenix light rail by Steven Vance is licensed under