88th Arizona Town Hall
Arizona's Rapid Growth and Development: Natural Resources and Infrastructure
April 9 – 12, 2006

Explosive growth and development throughout the state is reshaping Arizona as it approaches the celebration of its first 100 years of statehood. Population growth and demographic changes in urban, suburban and rural areas are reflected in more extensive and intensive use of land, which in turn present challenges and opportunities regarding transportation systems, adequate water and energy, clean air and affordable housing. Following are just a few of the recommendations from the 88th Arizona Town Hall that address what is needed to assure that Arizona approaches its second 100 years with solutions to providing adequate natural resources and infrastructure for our expected large increases in population.

  • Arizona is in urgent need of accurate population estimates and projections for planning purposes. A separate dedicated group or agency should be designed and have sufficient staffing and funding to accomplish improvements in the collection and interpretation of this information and should collaborate with the private sector, colleges and universities.
  • Substantial reform of state trust land regulations is strongly encouraged, including a constitutional amendment that would allow the State Land Department to integrate state trust land with desirable growth and conservation strategies.
  • Counties should be given the authority to regulate lot splitting of any size in their jurisdictions.
  • Alternative modes and alternative funding mechanisms should be explored to create a state-of-the-art system for movement of people and goods between Tucson and Phoenix and their respective airports.
  • Counties and municipalities need one-time enabling legislation to provide the flexibility to impose voter-approved transportation taxes.
  • Mass transit and the connectivity to such must be expanded and made more accessible, frequent, convenient, safe and efficient to induce people to switch from cars to public transportation.
  • A stronger and better funded Department of Water Resources should play a leading role in coordinating statewide planning and providing reliable water-related statistics-in particular more data on water resources and use outside the active management areas.
  • Arizona should increase reliance on nuclear energy. It was acknowledged that this approach would require environmentally responsible plans for disposal of nuclear waste.
  • Arizona's Congressional Delegation should be urged to support full funding of Community Development Block Grants, as this is a major source of funding for affordable housing programs.
  • Arizona should adopt a statewide blueprint for future growth in key sectors, starting with a compilation and review of all existing general and comprehensive plans. The review's purpose would be to highlight areas in need of attention and facilitate resolution of jurisdictional conflicts. The rapid pace of development warrants a statewide summit among state, local, federal and tribal governments, conservation agencies and the development community to create this blueprint.

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