open to Gila freeway solution
Mar. 18, 2006 12:00 AM
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Dist. 5,
will hold a meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Desert Vista High School to discuss
the South Mountain Freeway. Corinne Purtill of the Ahwatukee
Republic caught up with him to get some of his views on the proposed
freeway and the Valley's transportation needs.
What contributed to your decision last fall to
support the no-build option for the South Mountain Freeway?
I listened to my constituents and they made it very clear that the freeway as
proposed was totally unacceptable to them. But I also oppose the proposal
because it would drastically change the character of Ahwatukee. Homeowners will
either lose their homes or see the value of their homes decline, children at
nearby schools would be subject to air pollution, traffic congestion would
increase throughout the area, and it would have a devastating impact on South
Mountain Park. For these reasons I think we need an alternative.
If the Arizona Department
of Transportation and the Maricopa Association of Governments decide to build
the South Mountain Freeway, will you get involved in discussions with the Gila
River Indian Community regarding possible alignments on their land?
If the parties
involved thought I could be helpful, absolutely. Running the freeway through the
reservation could be a solution that works for everyone. Obviously, nothing
along those lines could be done without the cooperation and approval of the
tribe, and I would urge local governments to be respectful of their rights. I
would be more than willing to help facilitate discussions with the tribe, with
whom I have an excellent relationship. In fact, I think it would be foolish not
to explore this opportunity.
What transportation alternatives do you
suggest to relieve traffic congestion in the Valley?
I support . . . a combination of different modes of transportation:
light rail, more roads, better bus service, and widening and improving existing
roads. I have been working with ADOT and local communities to win support in
Congress for transportation projects that will relieve congestion. I have been
fortunate to help win funding for such things as light rail, the East Valley bus
maintenance facility, the I-10 widening, and the downtown Tempe Transit Center.
Easing congestion is a priority for me.