It is estimated that bringing all roads in Pima County up to fair condition would cost around $1 billion, something some officials said the current Road Property Tax is not capable of addressing. A half-cent sales tax would bring in substantially more money.
The Senate version of the bill, which was approved by the transit committee unanimously last week, adds some twists for Maricopa and Pima counties.
In Pima County, the supervisors would only be able to refer a sales tax question to voters after receiving a “written request of the Regional Transportation Authority,” whose board would determine the length of the tax (between 10 and 20 years), according to the text of adopted amendments. The proceeds would also be deposited into the authority’s fund.
State law currently caps the RTA tax at a half-cent, but the Senate version of the bill would raise that to a full cent, and also make clear that proceeds could be spent on both building new roads and maintaining those already constructed.
“Given the highlighted public concerns regarding road repair and pavement rehabilitation, it is clear that if this legislation passes, we should concentrate entirely on road repair and pavement rehabilitation for the next 10 years,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry recently wrote to RTA Executive Director Farhad Moghimi. “Using this new authority would be superior to the method now contemplated — a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors.”