City looks to Tucson voters to pay for road repairs - Tucson News Now

City looks to Tucson voters to pay for road repairs

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A decision on whether or not to fix pothole-ridden roads in Tucson neighborhoods is about to be up to the voters.

In May, Tucson residents will vote on a half-cent sales tax increase.

If approved, millions will go toward the Tucson Police Department and the Tucson Fire Department for vehicle and equipment upgrades.

But $100 million will go just toward repairing Tucson streets.

In November 2012, voters approved the a $100 million road program, with $17 million a year going toward major road upgrades and $3 million a year to residential neighborhood roads.

That's a total of $20 million a year for five years.

Come June 2018, the money will run out.

In the new proposed program, $60 million a year will be spent on major roads and $40 million a year will go toward residential neighborhood roads for five years.

This is a list of the following roads that the City of Tucson Transportation Department will be finishing up in 2018:

  • Silverbell Terrace Neighborhood - Grant Road/Silverbell Road 
  • Rose South Neighborhood - Fort Lowell Road and Country Club Road 
  • Palo Verde Neighborhood - Michigan Street and 12th Avenue
  • Miramonte East Neighborhood - Grant Road and Palo Verde Road
  • Poets Square Neighborhood - Speedway Boulevard and Alvernon Way/Speedway Boulevard Swan Road
  • Barrio Centro Neighborhood - Fifth Street and Swan Road
  • 22nd Street and Country Club
  • Speedway Boulevard and Kolb Road
  • 29th Street and Wilmot Road
  • Golf Links Road and Prudence Road
  • Stella Road and Pantano Road 

Arizona Transportation Builders Association is a group made up of more than 5,000 Tucson contractors.

CEO Ramon Gaanders says while the roads are getting better, more still needs to be done.

“We want to get everyone the best roads as possible. Tucson has had a history of poor roads for many of years, and now I think that we are finally getting away with that and doing what is right for the community," he said.

Gaanders said he believes poor roads are a public safety issue that needs to be addressed.

“We definitely want to get people from Point A to Point B safely. We also getting our police officers there safety. We don’t want to have them to have to avoid potholes or swerve in and out just to get somewhere," he said.

Leaders with the Pima County Republican Party don’t disagree with the idea of making sure roads are safe, but say the money needs to come from somewhere else.

“The city council has advocated its responsibilities and has gotten themselves in this position where they haven’t been funding the basic services, like police, fire and roads, instead of balancing the budget and providing for those services that are the very foundation. They have been putting those services off to the side and then they go to the taxpayers and say, ‘You guys bear the grunt’,” said David Eppihimer, chairman of the Pima County Republican Party.

He added he doesn't think it's fair.

"The party doesn’t think it’s fair to go to the voters for additional funds where it’s really a budget problem. Where it’s really a lack of control, a lack to bite the bullet and live within the cities means," he said.

Tucson’s special election happens May 16.

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