Arizona has been growing, and it's going to keep growing. Today the state has about 6.6 million people, but Arizona’s population by 2035 could be as high as 10.5 million people which is a lot more people who will be using the water infrastructure and traveling on the same roads. With such explosive growth, comes opportunities and challenges to keep up. The opportunities - new businesses arriving, increased productivity, and new jobs for workers - are there, but so are the challenges - congestion, having to expand existing infrastructure, and keeping up with maintenance for new and old assets. Arizona's benefited from keeping ahead of it's growth challenges in the past by adding new aviation facilities, growing the interstate network, and adding transit options that have outperformed their ridership estimates. Look at what has happened in just Maricopa county as the greater Phoenix area has grown:
Investing in infrastructure has been well-timed and helped ease the growing pains of the state, especially in the Phoenix, but what about the future? To review the condition and needs of the state's infrastructure both now and for the future, ASCE released the 2015 Report Card for Arizona’s Infrastructure on Wednesday as part of national Infrastructure Week. The Report Card assessed nine categories, giving the state an overall grade of “C.” While faring better than the nation’s infrastructure as a whole, the report reveals that the state’s infrastructure needs attention both for today and the future to keep up with growth. Here is a short video that explains the challenges facing Arizona's infrastructure:
The state anticipates a significant population increase in the coming decades, so maintaining and modernizing infrastructure will be crucial to meet the needs of Arizona’s communities in the future. The Report Card offers five key solutions to raise the grades and prepare Arizona for the future:
- We need infrastructure every day so we have to keep it working with good maintenance.
Maintenance is the every day work you just have to do to keep things moving, and Arizona’s infrastructure needs it. Sometimes it’s all about the basics, and maintenance is the basic first step to good infrastructure.
- Investing in infrastructure has allowed Arizona to grow, and investing in smart projects will keep it growing.
Arizona has seen exciting new infrastructure projects over the last decade become selling points for the state and bring in new residents and businesses. New investments in critical corridors and freight connections can lead to new opportunities. Let’s keep this going!
- Every community’s leaders should order an infrastructure health check-up.
Just like your body, infrastructure is a system. The water pipes and roads and railways are the arteries that keep the state moving so it’s worth asking – how is your area’s infrastructure doing? Just like a physical, infrastructure needs regular evaluations.
- Borrowing from infrastructure funds just means you’ll pay more tomorrow.
Arizona’s leaders have to make tough budget choices, but not using infrastructure dollars for needed projects today will lead to more expensive project costs down the road and infrastructure that hinders growth rather than supports it.
- Planning for Arizona’s future starts today with sustainable choices, innovative investments, and resilience.
Arizona’s projected growth is both an opportunity and a challenge. It will require continued focus by the state’s leaders to adopt sustainable practices and innovate to be competitive.
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