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In the home of Arizona Highways, former developer Governor Symington has proposed budget cuts that would eliminate funding of landscape improvements for new freeway and improvement projects, . . . but not without regard to the future scenic and environmental benefits of freeway plantings. The Governor's cuts are budgetary, meaning that any discretionary funds may be made available.

Not to tempt fate, however, the Arizona Chapter of ASLA (A/ASLA) responded proactive-ly to the Governor's proposal to eliminate all plant material and irrigation from future greenway construction budgets with a letter to the members of the State Transportation Board and a select group of mayors. Assessing the impacts on long-term monetary, social and environmental values, the A/ASLA calculates that the 3.6% saved from construction budgets could cost the state far more in terms of:

• Neighborhood degradation, affecting quality of life and property values.

• Detrimental precedents for non-landscaped projects.

• Loss of tourism due to negative impressions.

Downsizing and other means of preserving the integrity of long-term highway infrastructure projects could be viable options. LASN will mark the mileposts.

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December 14, 2019, 8:47 am PDT

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