The signatures needed to rescind the results of a February tribal election, when the Gila River Indian Community voted “No Build” for the Loop 202, have been verified.
A new vote, asking the community “Yes” or “No” to putting the Loop 202 extension on the reservation, could take place as early as February, 2013.
In February 2012 there were three options on the ballot, a “Yes,” “No” or “No Build.” “No Build” won the majority with 720 votes.
The initiative has been put forth by a group called GRIC Landowners. The Landowners do not believe that “No Build” is a viable option for the Loop 202. Their goal is to have the freeway extension go on allotted lands, which are different from tribal lands. The initiative would approve the freeway going onto allotted lands and a portion of tribal lands to avoid cutting through Ahwatukee Foothills and South Mountain.
The initiative will go before the tribe’s Legislative Standing Committee on Jan. 8 and on to tribal council later that month. The council can either accept the initiative as is or send it to a public vote. It is expected to go to a vote.
Joseph Perez, founder of Pangea Development, has been helping facilitate the Landowner’s initiative. He announced to the group that the signatures had been verified during their meeting on Saturday, Dec. 22.
Some Gila River Indian Community members are fighting against a new vote. They are encouraging residents to take a hard stand against building the freeway.
The Arizona Department of Transportation and Maricopa Association of Governments are still studying the possible Loop 202 extension. “No Build” has not officially been ruled out as a viable option.
A Draft Environmental Impact Study for the Pecos Road Alignment has not been released. Once it is released public meetings will be held to give opportunity for public comment. For more information on the freeway, visit southmountainfreeway.com.