The organizer of a proposed permanent one-cent hike in state sales taxes on Tuesday defended earmarking 10 percent of the proceeds for road construction.
Ann-Eve Pedersen said Arizona has cut state aid to education in the last five years more than any other state. She said Proposition 204 would provide needed tax dollars the Legislature cannot take. If approved, the measure would initially raise $1 billion a year. But 10 percent automatically goes for roads. Pedersen said that is justified.
A Sierra Vista lawmaker wants to block construction of a highway he says could lead to the loss of national sovereignty.
The issue arose during a debate over laws governing how Arizona can enter into partnerships with private companies to build toll roads. Rep. David Stevens said he's all for the concept. But he told colleagues during floor debate his concern is any effort to build Interstate 11, a highway that would run all the way from Nogales to Canada. Most of the roads already are in place. The missing link is a segment from Phoenix to Las Vegas.
U-S Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico says the grants will expand much-needed services in rural and often remote communities. The federal program has awarded almost half a million dollars to the Navajo Nation to meet increasing transportation demands within the country’s largest reservation that’s the size of West Virginia. Many tribal members live far from medical or veterans services. And many tribes bus students a hundred miles or more to and from school. One tribe in Nevada, the Duckwater Shoshone, lives 75 miles from the nearest town.