Accelerate Arizona Begins Statewide Tour in Flagstaff
Accelerate Arizona recently launched a statewide roadshow, beginning in Flagstaff. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry was proud to partner with the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce on this two-day event. The roadshow began with visits to transportation projects currently underway, such as improvements to Highway 89A and Fort Tuthill and included a fun and informative tour of the Joy Cone ice cream cone manufacturing facility to learn all about its product distribution and freight needs. The roadshow stop culminated with a highly successful Transportation Town Hall held at Flagstaff City Hall which was open to the public.
U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, local elected officials and nine state legislators, including transportation committee chairmen Senator Bob Worsley and Representative Rick Gray, participated in the Town Hall. Representatives from governmental agencies and Flagstaff businesses also took part in the event.
The Town Hall addressed specific infrastructure projects that are necessary to improve the flow of commerce and reduce commute times in the Flagstaff area. These include the widening of both I-17 and I-40. Major Flagstaff area employers such as W.L. Gore discussed the importance of strong infrastructure in getting employees to and from work each day. Local businesses also addressed the need for upgrades to arterial roads and intersections.
Participants talked about the negative impact that traffic is having on the tourism industry. In particular, Highway 180 is struggling to accommodate traffic to the Grand Canyon and the ski areas. David Wessel from Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization and Arizona Snowbowl General Manager J.R. Murray discussed possible solutions to alleviate the traffic problems on these economically important routes.
The tie between transportation infrastructure investment and the economy was clearly articulated and understood. One major element that participants discussed was how to find the funding necessary for the long-term infrastructure network that we need to grow Arizona’s economy. While various numbers and revenue streams have been discussed, the key takeaway from the event was that any revenue should be prioritized on projects that have the greatest impact on advancing the economy. The Arizona Department of Transportation has outlined these projects in Arizona’s Key Commerce Corridors project.
Over the course of the two-day event, Accelerate Arizona gathered critical input which will help shape our efforts moving forward. A special thanks to all the lawmakers who joined us for this event:
U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar
Senator Slyvia Allen
Senator Carlyle Begay
Senator Catherine Miranda
Senator Bob Worsley
Representative John Allen
Representative Noel Campbell
Representative Karen Fann
Representative Rick Gray
Representative Bob Thorpe
Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours
Coconino County Supervisor Matt Ryan
Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis
Yavapai County Supervisor Jack Smith
Our next stop is Safford where we will be learning about the relationship between transportation and mining, Graham County’s major economic engine, and developing solutions to advance infrastructure projects in southeastern Arizona.