ROADS/BRIDGES: Voters in Phoenix approve sales tax increase for transportation project funding

Proposition 104 seems to have passed with 55% of voters in favor; 26% of votes still to be counted

Funding News August 27, 2015
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The issue of enacting a tax increase to boost infrastructure investment has been settled in at least one area of the country. Voters in Phoenix, Ariz., this week approved, by a return of 55% to 45%, Proposition 104, which stipulates a sales tax increase that will benefit transportation funding for new light rail lines, bus expansion and street improvements over the next several decades.
The city’s 0.4% sales tax for transit will increase to 0.7% for overall transportation, beginning Jan. 1 and extending for 35 years. The tax increase is the foundation of a $31.5 billion plan that will be funded by a variety of sources including federal grants and user fares.
Some 35,000 votes are yet to be counted, representing 26% of the total ballots cast, and according to the Phoenix City Clerk’s Department a final update is expected this Friday. Nevertheless, the approval of Prop. 104 is being hailed as a victory for local transportation leaders, who have been promoting the tax increase since the City Council approved the measure in March. Moreover, the proposition has been championed by Mayor Greg Stanton, who has been using the measure as a primary point of campaign in his re-election bid.
Per standard political protocol, Stanton claimed victory for Prop. 104 after early results were released, calling the infrastructure investment a historic moment for Phoenix.
“This is a great night for the future of the city of Phoenix,” Stanton said.
Passage of the measure also will allow about $16 million from Phoenix’s general fund to shift from public transit to the police department for the hiring of more officers. Phoenix’s sales tax rate, presently 8.3%, will increase to 8.6% on Jan. 1 with the transportation tax increase.

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