County Hopes Construction Could Stimulate COVID-Impacted Economy
The board approved the measure earlier this month that will allow local and regional contractors to break ground on capital improvement, pavement preservation, road resurfacing and other projects during the coming construction season.
"This is a great opportunity for the county to help local and regional businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic while keeping the Prop. 403 promises that we made to residents about maintaining our roads," said Board of Supervisors Chair Matt Ryan of District 3 .
Stimulus projects will be funded by the county's transportation fund, which includes revenues from the road maintenance sales tax, the gas tax and vehicle license tax. No county general funds will be used for these projects. By law, these transportation funds cannot be used for any other purpose that road maintenance and reconstruction.
In a statement, Ryan said many of the projects had previously been delayed as the county predicted drops in revenue coming into the transportation fund but those funds have remained resilient throughout much of the pandemic.
"The gas and vehicle license taxes have continued to outperform conservative forecasts resulting in a healthy Transportation Fund , thus these projects can be done this year to the benefit of our local economy and road system without incurring any debt," Ryan said.
The Public Works Stimulus Plan features civil capital improvement road projects, almost 7 miles of pavement preservation projects, road maintenance equipment procurement, and crushing and blasting at the county's operated pits to produce road surfacing material.
In addition, Public Works has secured approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to resurface 10 miles of county-maintained school bus routes on the Navajo Nation as part of the stimulus plan.
"Doing these projects sooner rather than later means more people working, and thus more people buying and securing services from businesses located in our county," ViceChair Lena Fowler of District 5 said. "I'm also excited that the Stimulus Plan includes resurfacing our Nation roads -- which will help to get our kids to and from school safely and are vital to our transportation needs."
The Stimulus Plan projects are scheduled to break ground when weather permits this spring.