Letter: Questions abound about public/private partnership to build South Mountain Freeway - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Letter: Questions abound about public/private partnership to build South Mountain Freeway

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Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:45 pm | Updated: 1:58 pm, Tue Oct 14, 2014.

This new partnership was first disclosed in your paper on July 31 by Allison Hurtado, who provided details about the new entity.

As the Treasurer of PARC (Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children) since it was legally founded on September 29, 2006, I have the following issues about the public/private partnership that was formed to build the South Mountain Freeway.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) website states that the formal incorporation for the South Mountain Development Group LLC is still pending, since May 2013, which means it is very new. It also means that it was not a legal entity when the “unsolicited bid” was submitted to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

(For the record, PARC is in good standing with both the ACC and the IRS. Arizona Corporation Commission No. 1315509-8 and EIN number 20-5763437).

Speaking of not legal, per ARS 41-2532, ADOT can only consider sealed bids that are submitted after a request for bids is posted by the agency. Legally, ADOT can’t even consider the “unsolicited bid” or use taxpayer dollars to evaluate it.

Also the math also doesn’t work. The Maricopa County Transportation Excise Tax revenues (from the 1994 election) that would pay to build (or repay the South Mountain Development Group) expires in 2016. The revenue projections indicate about $500 million, about 25 percent of the $2 billion cost of the South Mountain Freeway would be covered. Or was this just a big pork barrel project all along?

I think the real truth is that after ADOT received PARC’s expert comments and the critical feedback from the Environmental Protection Agency, it realized there would never be approval for federal money to build this freeway, so it pulled this publicity stunt to divert attention from the $22 million junk Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

This explains why ADOT suddenly touted the “unsolicited bid” the day after the close of comments on the DEIS. Just more expensive shenanigans for us taxpayers.

Jim Jochim

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