Likewise, within the Maricopa County Community College District, one of 10 community college districts throughout the state, nearly 24,000 students are enrolled in manufacturing and engineering programs.
Arizona’s advanced training pipeline is fueled by one of the fastest-growing populations in the country. The state added the third-most residents in the latest census. Arizona claims five of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the country, and Maricopa County, home to the Phoenix metro area, led the nation in the number of new residents added last year.
This combination—robust public-private collaboration and a constant influx of new workers—keeps Arizona at the top of national workforce rankings. In its most recent talent attraction scorecard, labor market analyst EMSI ranked Maricopa County no. 1, the fourth time in the last six years.
In addition to plentiful workers, businesses can expect to find the nation’s most welcoming business environment, made more attractive this year with the signing of legislation to lower personal property tax liability for business owners by 90% or more.
With talent considerations high on any decision maker’s list, Arizona sets the standard for workforce excellence.
Large-Scale Projects On The Rise In Tucson
Within the last decade, sweeping infrastructure developments in Tucson have paved the way for increased economic development. From roadways to bridges to streetcars, improved infrastructure continues to attract private capital investment and create quality jobs in the community.
A shining example of this is the city’s streetcar system. The 3.9-mile modern streetcar route connects two hot spots—the University of Arizona and the west end of downtown Tucson. Largely underdeveloped just several years ago, the west end of downtown now has a mixture of housing, shopping, restaurants, and markets—due to its placement near the streetcar line. While more than $196 million was invested in the construction and operation of the line since 2014, the project spurred $3 billion in private sector capital investment.
Roadway projects have also stimulated investment and large-scale projects. On the southeast side of town, one of the area’s busiest intersections has been transformed with a parkway at-grade intersection featuring on-ramps in place of left turn lanes, as well as indirect left turns to increase capacity and enhance safety. These improvements drove commercial and industrial development. Amazon now has a fulfillment center near the intersection.
Becton, Dickinson and Co., a Fortune 500 medical products and equipment company, is investing nearly $65 million to construct a new, approximately 200,000-square-foot medical sterilization facility at the northeast corner of the intersection. The projected economic impact is $122 million in a decade.
Tucson’s 22nd Street Bridge is another example of where infrastructure and economic development intersect. Built in the 1960s, the current bridge can’t carry freight vehicles, school and transit buses, or emergency medical service vehicles due to weight restrictions. That will soon change with the recent announcement of an additional $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant. The bridge will be replaced with a stronger span, expanded from four to six lanes and feature a divided median and a separate bicycle and pedestrian bridge. Freight vehicles will be able to travel this abbreviated route through town, saving time and money.
The new bridge will also give Union Pacific freight trains below it more clearance to mitigate bottlenecks. According to a U.S. Department of Transportation press release, this will help improve the nation’s supply chain infrastructure with faster movement of goods around the country.
Tucsonans themselves believe in the movement of infrastructure improvements happening in their city. In May, they voted for Proposition 411 to extend an existing temporary half-cent sales tax for an additional 10 years. An estimated $740 million in funds collected by the tax will be used for neighborhood street improvements, traffic signal upgrades, and system-wide street safety projects.
This follows the progress of prior voter-approved investments in streets, safety, and parks. A website (tucsondelivers.tucsonaz.gov) tells residents and others about these initiatives, along with an interactive dashboard.
Sierra Vista Offers Acreage, Extraordinary Lifestyle
Sierra Vista, the largest Arizona city east of Tucson, is a hub for business, education, healthcare, and tourism. Its short commutes, educated workforce, and easily accessed municipal airport coalesce into a business environment ready for tech startups, aviation expansions, and hospitality growth, among other opportunities.
Sierra Vista’s Municipal Airport is a one-of-a-kind location for aviation-related business, with ready infrastructure to accommodate large aircraft, buildable acreage, and a diverse labor pool. Thanks to a joint use agreement with adjacent Fort Huachuca, the Sierra Vista Municipal Airport boasts a 12,000-foot runway, air traffic assistance, aviation ground services, and ample parking.
The facility offers 13 acres of shovel-ready land adjacent to a 7-acre concrete apron, and water and electrical, including phase 3, are available on site.
“We recognize that having a smaller parcel of land for development means that only one or two businesses will ultimately locate to Sierra Vista—and we see that as a business advantage,” said the city’s Economic Development Manager Tony Boone. “As a mid-sized community, Sierra Vista offers myriad business benefits when compared to congested metro areas. Not only are commutes measured in minutes, but business owners also have direct access to our staff, creating a true partnership approach to development and growth.”