A compelling argument for a completed Payson bypass as soon as possible is that Payson's largest capital expense until the bypass is completed will be street improvements to accommodate our constantly growing traffic congestion. This huge funding requirement is likely to result in Payson's neglecting other badly needed capital improvements. Completion of the bypass will eliminate the need of further financing street improvements to relieve traffic congestion.
These recurring temporary fixes of the street system to compensate for the lack of a bypass could, over 10 to 20 years, cost $50-$100 million dollars. The longer it takes to complete the bypass, the greater this expense will be. In estimating these future expenses, there are such unknowns as the date of completion of the bypass, rate of growth of traffic congestion, future rates of inflation, construction costs, land acquisition, street widening, drainage and sidewalk costs. Consequently, it is impossible to provide anything other than a crude estimate of such costs over 15 or 20 years.
Based on trends of dramatic population growth in California, Arizona, Mexico and Maricopa County over the last 75 years, we can expect traffic congestion in Payson to continue its rapid growth. Recent census data confirm the continuance of these population trends. With increasing affluence of the population who will utilize Highways 87 and 260, more people visiting relatives, or taking vacations will utilize these highways. Trade and commerce follow population trends.
Another factor is the increase in trade with Mexico as a result of NAFTA. Accordingly, we can expect more commercial traffic in Payson.
We need to compare the impacts of not having a bypass with the impacts of having a bypass. In making a rational decision on the bypass issue, we need to know how each option will affect various groups in Payson over time.
The groups in respect to which this analysis should be made are: (1) Payson residents, (2) people employed in Payson, (3) Payson businesses, (4) Payson Town government. Such analysis should determine and quantify the impacts of both options in respect to travel within Payson, access to Payson businesses, and the effect of such impacts on each of the four groups listed.
Jim Winter, Payson