A Payson issue that is becoming a progressively more expensive problem is the need to increase street capacity to compensate for the lack of a southeast bypass. An overwhelming majority of Payson residents probably support a southeast bypass.
My conclusion is based on a poll taken by the Citizens Awareness Committee a few years ago. This poll was taken at a spring business fair held in the old Wal-Mart building after Wal-Mart moved. There were 128 responses to the question: "Do we need a southeast bypass loop?" Of the responses, 109 voted yes, and 19 voted no.
Some Payson business owners are opposed to the bypass because they think it would adversely affect their business. These business owners need to consider whether, if traffic congestion increases as it has in the past, will loss of some transient business because of a bypass exceed the loss of business, both local and transient, attributable to loss of access caused by traffic congestion. Depending on the severity of the traffic congestion, people who go to Phoenix for business or other reasons might decide to shop in Fountain Hills.
Such business owners might also consider whether lack of a southeast bypass would be an impediment to growth of the local Payson market opportunities. Does Payson really have enough financial resources to provide adequately for traffic congestion, build delivery systems to bring water needed for growth into Payson, maintain the town infrastructure and protect the town from fire at the same time?
Curing traffic congestion might, depending on how fast congestion grows, require a series of bond issues every two or three years, in the low millions. Payson has many narrow streets. Widening the streets will require condemnation of property, possibly storm sewers and sidewalks, as well as costs related to bond financing.
Water delivery systems, financing and other costs associated with acquiring additional water resources may be greater than anticipated. Growth is expensive because impact fees paid by developers do not sometimes cover the full cost of growth.
If the price of gasoline goes up over the next decade or two and alternative fuels at competitive prices are not then available, loss of growth opportunities may be a very big price to pay for not having a bypass. Price changes of gasoline could affect the amount of transient business Payson has.
Jim Winter, Payson