The plan was the first complete, coordinated study of the city's transportation system since the 1980s. As I said earlier, it was not based on the premise that we can pave and widen our way out of all congestion. We have to be strategic about new roads, technology, trail systems, transit and trolley. We also have to be smart about how we use the streets and transportation system we already have. We will continue to make improvements at intersections, adding more turn lanes and new medians in strategic locations to greatly improve traffic flow. Our Intelligent Transportation Systems, the sophisticated signal timing systems now monitored at our Transportation Management Center, can speed trips by 8 to 25 percent and improve the carrying capacity of existing roads. We will continue to improve our Intelligent Transportation System capabilities.
Letís not assume that we have to tear down homes and destroy neighborhoods to improve our transportation system.
The cityís plan identifies about $1 billion in transportation projects that will be needed over the next 20 years. The Transportation Commission is now prioritizing those projects. The major question is not surprising - how do we pay for them? A significant amount of the funding will come from the current two-tenths city sales tax dedicated to transportation. But we will also need other sources for funding. And we will continue to look for all opportunities to speed up regional, state or federal funding for projects that serve our city.
On the Pima Freeway, for instance, as the Vice Chairman of the Maricopa Association of Governments - or MAG, I was able to help in getting the time frames moved up for construction of HOV lanes, funded by the countywide half-cent sales tax. The lanes should be completed next year. Because they will move more people during peak periods, the lanes are expected to improve the peak- hour capacity of the freeway by 33 percent.
The state also is planning to add two more general purpose lanes to the Pima Freeway. Fortunately, the design work has also been expedited and is occurring now. In addition, we are scheduled to receive regional dollars to help with some of our planned solutions for congestion in the Airpark area. That is a priority!
But the timing of construction is always an issue. Funding to build these many projects is scheduled years in the future. In the past Scottsdale has been creative and able to get some acceleration of regional funding for projects. In my role at MAG I will continue to look for all opportunities to accelerate projects beneficial to Scottsdale.
As you may know, earlier this year we were able to make more improvements to the Scottsdale Trolley system.