Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke was elected as chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Council today during the agency’s annual meeting. As the agency’s new chair, Hartke said his highest priority is to ensure that MAG is ready to implement a suite of transportation projects if Maricopa County voters approve the extension of the dedicated half-cent sales tax for transportation (Proposition 479) in November.

“My priority will be to ensure that MAG has our toes in the starting blocks, so that if transportation funding is approved, we will be ready to sprint forward with the implementation of the Regional Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Investment Plan,” said Hartke during a passing of the gavel ceremony today.

“The plan was developed with the input of MAG’s 32 member agencies — large to small, rural to urban, Wickenburg to Apache Junction, Cave Creek to the Gila River Indian Community — the plan was unanimously approved because our diverse communities understand that growth means more strain on our transportation system, slowing down our commutes and our everyday lives. What benefits one area of the Valley benefits all, because vehicles and people don’t stop at city boundaries. It is a seamless, connected system.”

Hartke also vowed to focus on other important efforts to the region, such as working with other Western states to address ozone pollution. “With even stricter standards now in place, we will see our region move up in classification to become a ‘Serious’ nonattainment area. MAG has been at the forefront in working with the EPA at the highest levels to communicate the challenges that Arizona and other western states face when it comes to ozone pollution from wildfires and international emissions. MAG will continue its critical air quality planning and modeling work to develop and submit a plan that meets EPA standards,” stated Hartke.

Additional areas of focus for the new chair will be increasing electric vehicle infrastructure and working to protect the region’s most vulnerable citizens, such as the continued partnership in the Heat Relief Network to provide resources during extreme summer heat and in the area of homelessness.

El Mirage Mayor Alexis Hermosillo was elected to serve as MAG vice chair and Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn as treasurer.  Those selected to serve as at-large members are Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson, Mesa Mayor John Giles, and Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego will move into the position of past chair. The MAG Regional Council is a 32-member board that serves as the governing and policy-making body for MAG.

Other newly elected officers for the agency include Phoenix City Manager Jeff Barton, who will serve as chair of the MAG Management Committee, while Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps will serve as the vice chair. The Management Committee is responsible for receiving input from MAG technical committees, analyzing the technical and policy implications, and providing recommendations to the MAG Regional Council.

Queen Creek Mayor Julia Wheatley will serve as chair of the Transportation Policy Committee, with Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers as the vice chair. The TPC is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the Regional Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Investment Plan and to guide transportation planning in the region.

All newly elected officers will serve a one-year term.