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FLORENCE — A 30-day comment period has begun for Pinal County’s 2021 Five-Year Transportation Improvement and Maintenance Program, which runs through May 17. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors will consider approval of it on May 26.

The plan is at www.pinalcountyaz.gov/publicworks. Under “items of interest” on the left side of the page, click on “Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.” Email the Transportation Advisory Committee at PCTAC@pinalcountyaz.gov. The website is also helpful for submitting a transportation project request; viewing TAC meeting agendas and minutes; and viewing project status reports.

New projects are added annually to the fifth year of the plan. Anyone can submit requests for projects by mail, email or online.

On Wednesday the board heard a presentation on the program, which was developed and recommended by the county’s TAC earlier this year. In all, the five-year plan contains 89 transportation projects with a combined cost of almost $42 million, Pinal County Senior Transportation Planner Tara Harman told the board.

Program goals are roadway safety, traffic flow, paved mileage and economic development. Safety continues to be the primary focus, but “in the past years we have trended towards maintenance of our paved roads,” Harman said.

“The county’s elected leadership made economic development a strategic priority, so we consider projects for the plan that support economic development,” she added. “…movement of people and goods is one of the determining factors when it comes to attracting new businesses and creating quality jobs.”

Safety projects include guardrails, rumble strips and traffic signals, and conducting safety studies. Due to several widening projects, traffic flow is improving but it will need to be managed throughout the entire county as areas continue to develop, Harman told the board. To address air quality mandates, paved mileage must increase on unimproved roads that have an average daily traffic count of 150 or more.

Several previously programmed projects have been canceled due to lack of right-of-way donation. Funds from these canceled projects have been used to move up improvements on McKellips Road from the 2023-24 budget year to the current budget year. Completing this project earlier will aid in a continued stormwater maintenance issue, Harman said.

This makes three maintenance projects in District 1, the eastern half of Pinal County; one project each in Districts 2 (San Tan Valley area) and 3 (Casa Grande area); three projects in District 4 (southern and western Pinal); two projects in the county’s northern District 5; one project split between Districts 3 and 4; and two countywide projects.

These 13 maintenance projects total $4.9 million. The county plans 11 additional improvement projects estimated at $6.7 million.

Funding is provided from revenues through the transportation excise tax approved by Pinal voters in a special election in 2005. Revenue has increased more than $4 million in the last five years, to nearly $11.6 million in this fiscal year. Revenue is expected to grow to more than $11.9 million in the new fiscal year.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.