Friday, April 9, 2010

ADOT's priorities are driven by your input

Honk if you plan ahead!

In a perfect world, getting from Point A to Point B would be as easy as 1-2-3. The honk of a “magic horn” would fulfill all our transportation needs and wishes.

Of course, there’s not an “app” for the magic horn yet. In the imperfect meantime, we’ve got real work to do getting people where they want to go. And that takes planning.

Ever wonder how transportation projects—things like roads, bridges, airport runways, traffic interchanges—are selected for construction?

The Arizona Department of Transportation uses a well-defined cyclical process to determine the most-needed projects, and when it’s feasible to build them. We’ll backhoe deeper into this topic a little later. First, let’s have a frank talk about citizen participation.

Make some noise citizens

Frankly, Arizonans, we (ADOT) do give a darn. We give a darn about your participation, your comments, thoughts, ideas, suggestions, opinions, musings, dreams, etc, concerning transportation in Arizona.

Research shows that transportation decisions tend to be far more successful when there is public buy-in. That entails informing individuals and organized groups who live, work, or have a stake in an area potentially affected by a transportation project and gathering their feedback.

Meaningful public participation can create the difference between poor transportation decisions made in a vacuum and decisions that improve the quality of life. Done right, engaging the public in transportation decisions is much more than an agency requirement and a legal obligation; it’s a key ingredient of good decision-making. (Three honks for public participation!)

There are three imminent opportunities for you, the public, to speak up about upcoming transportation projects. The state Transportation Board recently adopted what’s called the tentative Five-Year Program. (A key to reading the program is available at How to read the Five-Year Program.) Three public hearings will be held so citizens can comment on the projects contained in the tentative program. The public hearings for the tentative Five-Year Program are:

9 a.m., Friday, March 19, 2010, ADOT Auditorium, 206 S. 17th Ave., Phoenix
9 a.m., Friday, April 16, 2010, Town of Oro Valley Council Chambers, 11000 N. La Canada Dr., Tucson
9 a.m., Friday, May 21, 2010, City of Sedona Council Chambers, 102 Roadrunner Dr., Sedona
If you cannot attend one of the meetings, please send us your comments.

The Board considers all written and spoken comments before adopting the tentative Five-Year Program in final form.

Transportation affects all of us. Don’t miss these opportunities to share your views. The world is run by those who speak up.

Now for the backhoe work we promised.

How ideas become transportation projects
Many transportation projects begin as wishes dreamed up by groups or individuals to fill an identified need. Typically, these projects are envisioned 40 or more years into the future. In 2008 and 2009, ADOT worked with people and organizations throughout the state to develop “Building a Quality Arizona” (BQAZ), a shared vision for Arizona’s transportation future. This long-range vision was fiscally unconstrained, outlining our transportation needs for the next 40 years.

Every five years, ADOT conducts a Long-Range Transportation Plan, which takes the 40-year vision and mixes it with information on available funding sources to set investment priorities for the ensuing 20 years. Known as “What Moves You Arizona,” the current Long-Range Plan update is kicking off this spring, and depends on your participation as well.

Each year, ADOT creates a Five-Year Program that lists how we will invest state and federal funds over the coming five years. Projects scheduled during the first two years of the current program have committed funding behind them. This year’s Five-Year Program, in tentative form, is what we are seeking your comments on.

Broad-based participation ranging from metropolitan planning organizations, to councils of government, to citizens is integral to the success of all of these planning strategies.

So, if you care about getting from Point A to Point B safely and efficiently, we want to hear from you. Your voice may not be a “magic horn,” but it’s pretty darn close.

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