Prop 400: West Valley freeway project could benefit from a renewed transportation sales tax

Voters in Maricopa County will have a chance to vote on the renewal of a decades-old transportation sales tax, after Governor Katie Hobbs signed a bill that paved the way for an election on the tax to take place.

The bill, which deals with a half-cent transportation sale tax that has been around for decades, was approved by the State Legislature in late July.

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So far, the transportation sales tax, as provisioned in what is known as Proposition 400, has paved the way for the construction of several highways, including State Route 51, Loop 101, Loop 202, and Loop 303. Should voters approve an extension to the sales tax, it could provide over $24 billion for projects over the course of 20 years.

State and County officials say should voters approve the Prop 400 extension, work on State Route 30 in the West Valley will begin immediately.

"They need this," said Arizona House Minority Leader Lupe Contreras (D). "They want to get to work, but don't want to last 45 minutes to an hour and a half on I-10 to go to work and feed their families."

What is State Route 30?

According to ADOT officials, they have been studying State Route 30 since 2005 as an alternate route to the I-10. A Final Location/Design Concept Report for the proposed West Valley freeway was issued in April 2020. A route for the freeway was also selected.

The freeway, also called Tres Rios Freeway, would run east and west, and give drivers in the West Valley an alternate roadway.

According to a study completed by the Maricopa Association of Governments, Morning rush hour drive time on the I-10 for the year 2040 was estimated to be about 75 minutes going east toward Downtown, and 60 minutes during the afternoon. It’s estimated that the construction of the Tres Rios Freeway would reduce travel time by about 20% each way.

"Over a five-year period, about 32 million passengers hours will be saved off of I-10, and the majority of that is commuters," said Arminta Syed with MAG.

What else will a renewed Prop 400 help fund?

The bill would allocate 40.5% of the funding for freeways and 22.5% for arterial roadways.

At least 37% of the proceeds is distributed to the Public Transportation Fund for "capital costs, maintenance and operation of public transportation mode classifications."