Quiz the Candidates

City transportation planners have been designing a grade-separated intersection at Grant Road and Campbell Avenue for more than a decade, but the cost--at least $15 million, not including $8 million in Campbell widening work now underway--has blocked further action, as has a city charter provision requiring a public vote before construction can begin. We asked all nine City Council candidates if they supported construction of a GSI at Grant and Campbell.

Democrat Paula Aboud: I support a total transportation plan for Tucson which may well include the GSI at Campbell; but in isolation, the impact at Campbell alone is not great enough in comparison with the cost, the impact to business and the loss of businesses, and the impact on neighborhoods. The overall vision for transportation may well include this GSI, however. Contractors lay no foundations without knowing the design first. Let's bring the best and brightest together (with time limitations) to create that master plan for Tucson's roads! Then, I'll want to hire a transportation director who will take action!

Democrat Vicki Hart: Although I do think that a grade-separated intersection might be the way to go in the future, I don't think we're ready for it yet. Campbell is being worked on right now (on the south side of Grant) with the intent of alleviating traffic congestion in the area. I would like to see if this project does the trick before we graduate to the grade-separated intersection.

Republican Kathleen Dunbar: Yes, I do support a "continuous flow intersection" at Grant/Campbell as well as other locations in Tucson. The last time a proposal to improve this intersection was voted on by the citizens, every precinct in Ward 3 approved the project. The project was defeated on a citywide vote because this was put forward as a stand-alone project that essentially benefited only Ward 3.

The significant issue here is not this one intersection. The issue is whether the City of Tucson is going to present a transportation infrastructure that allows us to travel north to south and east to west that the voters will approve.

Libertarian Jonathan Hoffman: Yes. I would support the improvement of the Grant and Campbell intersection as part of a larger road improvement plan. I would not support it as a stand-alone project.

Green Ted O'Neill: Grade-separated intersections contribute to the urbanization of communities. I utilize the businesses that are close to where I live. The variety of small businesses along Campbell Avenue are easily accessible to the neighborhoods to the west. This is an example of the Urban Village concept. To dig up that intersection would waste money, infringe on the neighborhoods and disrupt traffic along Campbell Avenue. All of these factors would harm small businesses and weaken neighborhood ties. I don't know what the cost of such a venture would be, but I believe those resources would be better spent enhancing public transportation.

Democrat Steve Leal:

I don't like grade-separated intersections. We may be stuck doing one at that intersection, but I think it would be prudent to look at the money we could get out of the state turn-back program for the entirety of Grant Road, add that to the money for a GSI, and see what we may be able to do on Grant Road as an alternative to just doing an intersection


Democrat Jesse Lugo: Yes. Along with needed improvements in Ward 5, this interchange, and others like it, should have been built early in my opponent's years on the council. Planning and discussion are fine, but action must follow. On issues like this, my opponent follows discussion with more discussion.

Democrat Gayle Hartmann: The simple answer is: A grade-separated intersection at Campbell and Grant is a very expensive band-aid for a complex problem. Cost is about $25-30 million. Citywide voter approval is required. Why not try for an integrated solution that incorporates incentives to carpool, better bus service, maybe light rail, and a land-use plan that minimizes more sprawling development on the urban edges?

Republican Fred Ronstadt: I do not think this is a yes/no question. We have a lot of things to do first in order to address current and projected shortfalls in the system, such as enhancing the transit system, including Van Tran, to make it more attractive to a larger group of people. We need to look at light rail, "smart traffic systems" and other technologies that are available to cities to increase the efficiency of current systems. We are embarking on some of these things now and will be able to accelerate these systems with a dedicated revenue source. Once we have squeezed every drop of efficiency out of the system, we can then look to see if a solution such as GSIs are appropriate and take that to the voters.

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