State's counties ask governor for help restoring gas tax revenue - Tucson News Now

State's counties ask governor for help restoring gas tax revenues

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A letter signed by all 15 Arizona Board of Supervisors chairs in Arizona, and sent to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, asks the governor for help in restoring gas tax revenues to the counties.

The gas tax in Arizona is 18 cents a gallon and has not been raised since 1993.

That money is supposed to be distributed to the 15 counties for road repair and maintenance.

But starting in 2008, the state began using those funds for other purposes like the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or to prop up the general fund.

Meanwhile, the roads in the counties began to deteriorate because of a lack of money for maintenance.

That has forced many counties to look for alternative sources of funding like bonds or increasing the property tax.

The counties are now pushing back and have asked the state legislature to restore full funding and have asked the governor for that help.

"We would appreciate your consideration of including the following top couple financial priorities in your budget recommendation," reads the letter sent by the County Supervisors Association of Arizona.

County Supervisors Association of Arizona letter by Tucson News Now on Scribd

Pima County has taken it a step further and suggested maybe it's time to take it to the voters as is happening in New Jersey and Illinois.

Both states asked voters to pass an initiative which will prohibit the gas tax revenues being used for other purposes.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry believes that could be accomplished here if a group or organization initiated the process.

"I think our road conditions are so critically in need of repair, that I think voters, if given the choice, would gladly choose that option," he said.

Some of the people found pumping gas at a Tucson gas station agree.

"If that's what they earmarked it for, absolutely, and someone should hold them accountable for doing just that," said Jeffrey Vickart of Tucson.

"I would like for them to put that money in our roads," Angela Smith said. "They're awful."

Both agreed with Huckelberry and would vote in favor of an initiative.

The letter makes no threats towards that end and is not critical of the state for transferring the funds. But it is a friendly reminder.

"It's simply a policy reminder of what's happening in this country in other states when transportation funds have been diverted in the long term," Huckelberry said. "Then voters tend to take things into their own hands."

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