Transportation Continues as Top Priority
PHOENIX (March 28, 2018) – The Maricopa Association of Governments has a new executive director, but he is no stranger to MAG. Today the MAG Regional Council ratified a recommendation from the MAG Executive Committee to name MAG Transportation Director Eric Anderson to the post. Anderson will succeed Executive Director Dennis Smith, who is retiring April 6 after 41 years of service to MAG, a metropolitan planning organization that serves the greater Maricopa region.
Anderson began doing consultant work for MAG in 1983 and was hired in 2000 to lead the MAG transportation division. As transportation director, he has been responsible for transportation planning for the region, including the implementation of Proposition 400, the region’s transportation sales tax funding plan. Over his career, his work has focused on regional and urban growth, economic development, and economic impact analysis. Anderson currently is involved in a number of planning and research efforts related to technology, including autonomous and connected vehicles. He has focused on the urban form and social impacts of new technology and the implications for the regional transportation system.
Anderson served as Interim CEO for Valley Metro prior to the appointment of Scott Smith in 2016. He is member of the Urban Land Institute Arizona Advisory Board, Lambda Alpha International, and the board of directors of the Arizona Transit Association. Anderson holds an M.S. degree in Economics from Arizona State University.
“Today’s action is indicative of our faith in the culture and values of the MAG organization,” said MAG Chair Jackie Meck, mayor of Buckeye. “Dennis Smith has left a great legacy, and we are confident that Eric will continue MAG’s tradition of excellence moving forward. His knowledge of transportation issues and funding needs is especially beneficial, as transportation infrastructure continues as a top priority for the region.”
Executive Director Smith was honored at the Regional Council meeting for his long service, which began in 1976 when he was hired by then-Secretary Jack DeBolske as a criminal justice planner. Smith served in a variety of capacities at MAG, and was appointed executive director in 2003. During his tenure, Smith pioneered the development of transportation plans that resulted in two successful transportation elections, including Proposition 300 in 1984 and Proposition 400 in 2004, which now raises $400 million a year for transportation improvements. Smith helped transform MAG into one of the most respected metropolitan planning organizations in the country, with nationally-renowned processes in transportation, air quality, population, employment and data driven economic development initiatives. In 2014, MAG was recognized by Transportation for America as an “Innovative MPO,” serving as a national model for progressive metropolitan planning organizations.
Smith’s long list of accomplishments include—in small part—bringing 9-1-1 service to the Valley in 1985; spearheading discussions that led to the Casa Grande Resolves in 1999 that provided a clear formula for the distribution of state transportation funds; coordinating three special census efforts; creating a human services division at MAG; overseeing the creation and implementation of air quality plans that brought the region into attainment; promoting initiatives that allowed public entities to participate in the state retirement system; and developing the regional freeway system, beginning with the inner loop and continuing through to the current construction of the South Mountain Freeway. For a copy of the resolution honoring Executive Director Smith, click here.