Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Smith's vision continues

It sounds like Mayor Scott Smith was on a roll during his latest news briefing. It sounds like once a month, the press comes up to the Mayor's office and let him riff on whatever he feels like talking about. Its not clear how this takes place, but it certainly would be fun to watch on Channel 11.

His first topic of discussion: Light Rail. He wants to expand it. While this move is probably premature, its probably smart for Mesa to put themselves first in line for extensions. Once a transit system like this takes off, the extensions end up being what all of the communities end up clamoring for. However, its important to note that Smith is leery of "long-term" programs. The operation of light rail is a continued cost, far beyond the construction. If we get more rail in Mesa, its going to mean more rail operation costs for the city.

Second and most important in our book, it looks like the Mayor is seriously looking into ways to get the D-Backs and the Rockies to come to Mesa. Its also promising that this type of expenditure is not coming from Mesa's general fund. It will be interesting, but we will have to wait and see how it will pan out. Even if Mesa doesn't land those two teams, they shouldn't give up. When the next team moves to the valley next year (I think its the Reds), MLB is going to be split 15-15 between Florida and Arizona. It makes for uneven scheduling and eventually, another team will move. Mesa should be courting the D-Backs, the Rockies, and one of the other teams still in Florida.

Finally, they are looking for ways to use stimulus moneys to help pay for Gateway airport. I would rather not incur the debt from the stimulus, but since its going to happen if I like it or not, it would be best if some of it could come home to help us locally. This is a notion that a certain local congressman would benefit from understanding.

1 comment:

Heath Reed said...

I love how he is forward thinking and always ready to look at new ways to progress and take Mesa in a new direction that it should have gone decades ago. Light rail is a cost, but not what roads are to the tax payers. It is a very expensive cost to us and the hidden cost most do not know about. It is wise to jump on this and get on board to expand light rail ASAP. Hopefully, by then the economy will be going up and we could see some good reinvestment along main street.

I hope Mesa goes after the Dbacks and Rockies. I also hope they can snag another team too because the east valley needs more teams. The gateway area is the only thing I think that will draw them to Mesa.