Arizona Proposition 204: It’s for the kids!!!
Do you want a free bumper sticker paid for by a special interest group? The Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors (“AZAGC”) is alerting its members that bumper stickers are available supporting Proposition 204. The bumper stickers are free and the email says, “let us know how many you’d like for your fleet, at home and for your friends.”
Let’s be clear: AZAGC is not supporting Proposition 204 because they support “the children” who may, but likely will not, be benefiting from The Quality Education and Jobs Act. The AZAGC is supporting the measure because their members stand to make boatloads of cash from the measure.
That’s because Proposition 204 is basically a grab bag slush fund for the AZAGC.
Proposition 204 is 15-pages of special interest carve outs, lacking accountability and oversight. Specifically, Proposition 204 provides a minimum of $100 million dollars for “State Infrastructure Funding” – per year. When you have a ballot proposition marketed as absolutely necessary for the survival of our children, $100 million dollars is a lot of money to play with for state infrastructure funding.
What does that include?
The question should be, what is NOT included because practically everything is INCLUDED. Here are a few things the “fund” can pay for:
1. THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PLANNING, DESIGNING, ENGINEERING, CONSTRUCTING, IMPROVING, FINANCING OR MAINTAINING OF THE FOLLOWING:
(a) STATE HIGHWAYS, REST STOPS, STATE ROUTES AND INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS.
(b) STREETS, BRIDGES, ROADWAYS AND PARKING FACILITIES, INCLUDING ALL AREAS FOR VEHICULAR USE FOR TRAVEL, INGRESS, EGRESS AND PARKING.
(c) PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND PASSENGER RAIL SYSTEMS.
(d) AREAS FOR PEDESTRIAN, BICYCLE OR OTHER NONMOTOR VEHICLE USE FOR TRAVEL, INGRESS, EGRESS AND PARKING.
(e) LANDSCAPING FOR STREETS OR HIGHWAYS, INCLUDING EARTHWORKS, STRUCTURES, LAKES AND OTHER WATER FEATURES, PLANTS, TREES AND RELATED WATER DELIVERY SYSTEMS.
(f) BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES.
(g) LIGHTING SYSTEMS, COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES, ENERGY CONSERVATION SYSTEMS AND OTHER SYSTEMS THAT ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY.
(h) TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS AND DEVICES, INCLUDING SIGNALS, CONTROLS, MARKINGS AND SIGNAGE.
(i) LAND CLEARANCE ACTIVITIES, DEMOLITION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION.
(j) EQUIPMENT, VEHICLES, FURNISHINGS AND OTHER PERSONNEL RELATED TO THE ITEMS LISTED IN THIS PARAGRAPH.
2. TO ACCELERATE STATE HIGHWAYS, STATE ROUTES AND INTERSTATE IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.
3. TO MAKE PAYMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS.
4. TO PAY FOR OTHER INCIDENTAL COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH HIGHWAY PROJECTS.
5. TO FUND ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE DESIGNS.
6. TO FUND WILDLIFE IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS THAT ARE DISRUPTED BY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS.
7. TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL, INTEREST AND PREMIUM ON BONDS AND OTHER FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS FOR TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS, INCLUDING COSTS OF ISSUANCE.
28-9302. Additional bonding authority
IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER AUTHORITY FOR THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS UNDER THIS TITLE, THE DIRECTOR, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BOARD, IS AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE BONDS NECESSARY TO PAY FOR ANY OF THE TRANSPORTATION-RELATED PROJECTS AUTHORIZED IN SECTION 28-9301 , SUBSECTION C. MONIES IN THE STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND ESTABLISHED BY SECTION 28-9301 OR MONIES TO BE DEPOSITED INTO THAT FUND MAY BE USED TO SECURE THE BONDS AND TO PROVIDE FOR ANY PAYMENT NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION.
Amazingly, the fund pays for critical education construction projects such as “rest stops”, “planning”, and “vehicles”. An appointed director can also issue bonds. Bonds for what? Well, under this law, any transportation or construction related project the construction industry deems necessary. No audit. No independent review. No coordination needed with with ADOT or the local cities. Yes, you’re very own “Bridge to Nowhere” might be coming to a community near you.
Do you want to build a jackrabbit tunnel over a road disrupted by another prop 204-funded road project? That’s covered. Do you want public tax dollars to pay for the new parking lot at Chase Field? No problem. Do you want to buy a vehicle related to anything in the fund? Yes, that’s covered too! It’s all covered!
To date, the AZAGC, it’s members, and their construction slush fund “We Build Arizona,” has contributed over $300,000 to the “Yes on 204” campaign. Ask yourself, why would contractors invest so heavily in education if they didn’t stand to benefit so handsomely financially?
If Prop 204 passes, the AZAGC and their construction allies will stand to collect at least $1 billion dollars in taxpayer funds in just 10 short years. Think about that.
So next time you’re driving to work and you see a truck with a “Support Education” sticker right next to the “licensed contractor” sticker, remember… it’s for the kids.