Industries continue to thrive in Arizona despite water scarcity and rising cost of living

Those who grew up in the Phoenix area know how different our state is today compared to 20 or 30 years ago.

Arizona has grown rapidly and much faster than other states, and a new state report reveals that growth will only accelerate over the next 10 years. However, with low water levels, high housing costs, and already congested roads, can Arizona cope?

Businesses grow in Arizona

This is how a supply chain is created.

By the end of 2022, ElectraMeccanica’s single-seater solo vehicles will roll off the lines of their 238,000 square foot manufacturing facility under construction in Mesa. 500 jobs should be created.

Related: Electric car maker ElectraMeccanica chooses Mesa to build warehouse, creating hundreds of jobs

“One seat, three wheels, a million possibilities,” said Kevin Pavlov of ElectraMeccanica.

This is not just a starting point for ElectraMeccanica, but a starting point for Arizona. With projects like this in the desert, it can snowball into a lot more like a lot more EVs.

Last summer, Lucid Air, which was selected as MotorTrend Car of the Year, began production at its Casa Grande plant. Manufacturers of electric vehicles need small businesses to set up shop next door to help support production, which creates a supply chain of jobs.

Related: Arizona-made Lucid electric car set to hit the roads in the coming weeks

“It will be a real hub, a real Mecca for the EV space that we are working on for the Solos,” Pavlov said.

Town of Buckeye

Across the valley, Buckeye remains one of America’s fastest growing cities, thanks to so many other industries.

Related: Buckeye and Phoenix are among America’s fastest growing cities

“Our industrial vacancy rate is zero. Our office vacancy rate is less than 1%. The retail vacancy rate is approximately 2%. So there is very little existing space here, so we are building all the new facilities today, ”said David Roderique, City Manager of Buckeye.

Roderique says less than 10% of the city is developed, and ultimately they think Buckeye will be a city of 1.5 million people.

Report: Many new jobs are expected to be created in the coming years

Arizona will gain more than 720,000 new jobs by 2030, essentially the population of Mesa and Gilbert combined, according to a new state report.

“It creates jobs and people,” said Patrick Ptak of the Arizona Commerce Association.

That’s a lot of people, with little time to prepare for it.

“Growth is a good problem to have. You’d rather have that than other places and states, ie industries leaving, people leaving,” Ptak said.

“That’s good. That’s great news. It’s solid. It’s nothing, however, that we can’t manage,” said Dennis Hoffman, professor of economics at the WP Carey School of Business at the Arizona State University.

Economist: the state should start planning its growth

While this is, in Ptak’s words, a good problem, it is nonetheless a problem. Hoffman, who studies issues like this, says now is the time to start planning.

“In five to seven to ten years. We need to make smart investments today in infrastructure, whether it is in energy, in transport, in broadband, in health facilities, anywhere to meet the needs. needs of this growing population, and we’ll have the means – which is a good deal – we’ll have the means and the wealth to deal with them, you know, if we decide to make these investments, ”Hoffman said.

Arizona faces challenges amid continued growth

Two freeways intersect in the Phoenix area.

Water is a key issue. Water levels are already low as populations increase. City officials, however, say they are poised for growth.

“The Buckeye has enough water up to about tripling its size before there is a problem,” said Roderique. “We have the capacity to support up to 300,000-350,000 people today.”

They have long term plans to tap into more water supplies as they grow beyond that. Ptak says water shortages are problems the desert has solved before.

“We use less water today than in 1957, with six times the population and 16 times the economy,” Ptak said.

Water, however, is not the only infrastructure challenge, as the roads are already blocked.

Roderique highlighted projects such as the widening of I-10 and the potential of an I-11 crossing city limits as solutions.

“Building the roads, building the water pipe, the sewer lines, things like that to accommodate the growth,” Roderique said.

The Arizona Commerce Authority says growth will come across all industries. Taiwanese company TSMC is investing $ 12 billion and creating 2,000 jobs.

Related: Governor’s office: new semiconductor plant to be built in Arizona

Intel, meanwhile, is investing $ 20 billion and 3,000 jobs.

Related: Intel opens $ 20 billion chip factory in Chandler

Companies that create products that haven’t even been invented yet could be next.

Ptak says that is why education will be the key.

“We have to keep looking ahead and working with the private sector and saying ‘where are you going? What is the next step ? So that we can continue to work with higher education institutions, even primary and secondary schools, and say, ‘these are the skills that we need in five to ten years, we want to start making sure that we are training. our students for that right from the start, “so by the time 2030 comes here and there are industries we never even thought about, there are students and people with the skills to take on those jobs. Ptak said.

Hoffman adds that federal dollars are essential in helping the state keep pace, but Arizona must also rely on itself.

“It’s a good problem to have. Now we have to deal with it wisely. We can’t just say, oh, unbridled growth forever. We don’t have to worry. We have to plan. We have to care. affordable housing and engage in efforts to ensure that people are not left behind by this growth, ”Hoffman said.

As for Pavlov, he looks to the future and sees Arizona at the heart of everything.

“I think the center of gravity shifts this way,” Pavlov said.

Soon hundreds of thousands of people could settle here with her.

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