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Transit, Streets Plan Would Add New Police OfficersTransit, Streets Plan Would Add New Police Officers<div class="ExternalClassA78F3F5A638D44E8987EB4BE129B27B6"><p>The city would add 325 new, sworn officers to its police force over the next four years if voters approve a transportation plan expected to be on the August ballot.</p><p>That would give Phoenix 3,125 officers by the end of fiscal year 2018-19.  </p><p>Additional police officers would be possible because the city would re-allocate $16 million that currently goes to the Public Transit Department from the General Fund. The reallocation was recommended last week by the City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. </p><p>Council members on Tuesday approved a new public safety hiring plan on a 7-1 vote.</p><p>“Keeping our community safe is a top priority,” Mayor Greg Stanton said. “We made the difficult budget decisions necessary to accelerate the hiring of new police officers, and this transit plan would allow us to put even more officers on the streets to ensure that our residents get help quickly when they need it.”</p><p>"I understand how critical it is to hire more police officers to meet our community needs" said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, chairman of the council's Public Safety and Veterans Subcommittee.  "I will support any options that help us to reach the police staffing levels that will keep our communities safe, and I commend my colleagues for thinking outside the box and finding potential funding resources to strengthen public safety in Phoenix."</p><p>“I am excited that the proposed transportation plan will allow us to allocate funds to hire police officers, as well as repair and modernize our streets and bridges that are in great need right now, and increase high capacity transit,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who chairs the council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.</p><h2>Background </h2><p>Last year, in his State of the City Address, Stanton called for growing the city’s popular and economically valuable public transit system by tripling the city’s light rail over the next 30 years and significantly growing its bus service.  </p><p>To address these issues, Stanton and the City Council convened the Citizens Committee on the Future of Phoenix Transportation. The 34-member group was chaired by Mary Peters, who served as the U.S. secretary of transportation under President George W. Bush and as director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. </p><p>Peters led a comprehensive review of public transit and street transportation needs citywide, and gathered residents’ comments about what improvements they wanted to see.  Over the past six months, the committee met 11 times to analyze transportation needs throughout the city; consider current public transit and transportation infrastructure, land use, U.S. Census data, employment and demographic trends; and to learn what residents had to say at open houses, in website comments and at other types of community meetings and public outreach efforts.</p><p>In addition to expanding public transit, the panel recommended significant investments in the city’s street infrastructure.</p><p>The council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee last week approved the citizen group’s plan with slight modifications, calling for a dedicated 0.72 percent sales tax (72 cents per $100) that would replace the existing 0.40 percent (40 cents per $100) sales tax approved by voters in 2000. </p><p>At that rate, residents would pay an additional penny on a $3 cup of coffee.</p><p>Under the plan, a new transit and streets oversight committee would be required to report regularly to the City Council and review possible modifications to the sales tax based on other sources of funding, and allow the mayor and council the flexibility to reduce the tax based on additional revenue sources.              </p></div>2/26/2015 12:15:00 AMTina May602-534-9505