October 2, 2018
As a past Chair of the Economic Development Committee (EDC), it was a pleasure to be called upon to chair the October meeting. This month, we continued the important conversation between transportation and economic development. The Arizona Commerce Authority has been working hard on business growth in our region and throughout the state. Our transportation network is critical to attracting companies and providing value-added jobs. Transportation is also one of four focus areas for the Growth Management Plan at Luke Air Force Base, for which we heard an update. We continue to keep informed about the extension of Proposition 400, which is essential to this region's economy and transportation system. The MAG region has tremendous assets that have meaningful impact and we need to continue to protect and provide these assets for years to come.
In 2019, nearly two dozen businesses expanded or locate in Arizona, creating more than 4,000 jobs. That was the good news from the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA). ACA is the state's leading economic development organization, with the mission of growing and strengthening Arizona's economy. ACA Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Marisa Walker provided an update on ACA's current projects. In fiscal year 2019, 22 businesses expanded or relocated in Arizona, creating 4,687 jobs with an average wage of $53,616. The ACA currently has 148 business attraction opportunities that would create about 37,640 jobs. Twenty-seven percent of these opportunities are from California and 17 percent from abroad. About 20 percent of these opportunities are in the financial sector. ACA is also working in the Opportunity Zones initiative, which will bring investment to economically depressed areas. ACA recently launched an interactive asset map that identifies statewide assets and resources. ACA also hosted a Binational Bridges and Border Crossing Group, which brings together technical staff and leadership to discuss border priorities. October is manufacturing month and several events will take place. An important innovation event occurring on October 11 is DesTechAZ, which will be presided by Governor Doug Ducey and will have Steve Wozniak as one of the guests.
The Sun Corridor stretching from Phoenix down to the Mexican border represents the economic engine of the state. Eighty-four percent of Arizona's population is located in the Sun Corridor, generating 87 percent of the state's tax base. To help the state's numerous transportation agencies coordinate planning efforts, the Arizona Department of Transportation and the regional planning agencies in the Sun Corridor are undertaking a new planning project. The project will result in the development of the Sun Cloud, a data portal serving the transportation planning needs of the five counties within the Sun Corridor in Arizona. The Sun Cloud will increase and improve the accessibility, usability, and quality of data and analytical tools that are vital to transportation planning. This will result in greater sharing and coordination of data, a better understanding of the big picture of transportation needs in the Sun Corridor, greater alignment of policies, and more strategic investments in transportation projects. The main goals of the Sun Cloud are to strengthen benefits received from transportation investments; increase equity by increasing access to transportation and prosperity, particularly for Title VI communities; and streamline environmental process and project delivery.
In 2013, Luke Air Force Base (AFB) was selected as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training site. The F-35 program at Luke AFB will be growing to 144 aircrafts by the year 2021 and the base will become the largest training site for F-35 in the world. MAG, with support from Luke AFB, West Valley communities, and a consultant team, will conduct a focused analysis of impacts resulting from the personnel increase at Luke AFB and prepare a targeted growth management plan. Luke Air Force Base Director Community Initiatives Team James Mitchell and Matrix Design Group Vice President Celeste Boccieri–Werner provided an update on this project. Luke AFB is an important member of the Southwest Valley community and has an estimated $2.4 billion economic impact in Arizona. The purpose of the project is to conduct assessments in the areas of transportation, housing, economic development/workforce development, and education, as well as the development of strategies and corresponding implementation plans in each of these areas. These assessments will include community engagement, such as a survey of residents living on the base and in the community to ascertain perceptions and priorities. The timeline for the project is one year.
At the May 23, 2018, MAG Regional Council meeting, MAG staff offered a timeline to develop regional policy principles in preparation for the 2019 Arizona legislative session. MAG staff presented on the draft MAG Policy Principles. MAG Policy Principles will focus on priorities within the areas of transportation, economic development, regional 9-1-1, human services, regional analytics, environmental and administration. The draft policy principles will continue to be vetted by MAG policy committees and is scheduled to be considered for approval by the MAG Regional Council at the October 24, 2018, meeting.
Over recent months, MAG staff has taken steps toward creating a foundation that will allow for greater success if proposed legislation for renewal of the half-cent sales tax for regional transportation is reintroduced in the 2019 Arizona legislative session. The proposed legislation would grant approval for the Maricopa Board of Supervisors to call for a regional ballot to offer an extension of the half-cent sales tax.
The next meeting of the EDC will be on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG Office, 302 N. First Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room.
The EDC E-Update is a monthly electronic newsletter providing information about the activities of the MAG Economic Development Committee. For questions regarding this e-mail, or to be removed from the distribution list, contact Denise McClafferty or Natalia Cuneo at (602) 254-6300.
Maricopa Association of Governemnts
302 North 1st Avenue, Suite 300
Phoenix, Arizona 85003