Phoenix public transit, roads plan to go to voters

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The issue still needs to go before voters. The issue still needs to go before voters.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Roads and the public transit system in Phoenix could soon get upgrades after the City Council approved a 35-year plan that includes an increase in the city's transit sales tax to fund the $30 billion price tag.

The issue still needs to go before voters and probably will be on the ballot in August, officials said.

The plan triples the number of light rail miles, expands bus services and improves the city's aging streets, according to Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton's office.

The plan would also end the city's current practice of allocating some General Revenue funds to the Public Transit Department, making the system more self-sufficient, Stanton's office said.

The Council's Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee in February approved 0.32 percent increase of the city's sales tax - bringing the current 0.40 percent dedicated transit tax approved by voters in 2000 to 0.72 percent (72 cents per $100).

Unlike Transit 2020, the plan includes street improvements in addition to transit, Stanton's office said.

The plan would cost residents and visitors an additional penny on a $3 cup of coffee, 2 cents more on an $8 lunch and about $65 more on a $20,000 car, according to Stanton's office.

The plan adds 18 miles of light rail, expands bus routes and pays for infrastructure improvements.

Supporters describe it as a much-needed investment for the growing city, but opponents call it an unnecessary tax on those who shop in Phoenix.