New county road plan both cuts, increases taxes - Tucson News Now

New county road plan both cuts, increases taxes

Roads on the northwest side.  (Source: Tucson News Now) Roads on the northwest side. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pima County has tried to find the money to fix its roads for nearly a decade without much success.

There was a $5 million annual general fund allocation which doesn't even begin to touch a problem that is estimated to cost $1 billion just to bring the roads up to a "fair" standard.

And there was last June's temporary property tax increase, which might raise $18 to $20 million annually, still far short of the goal.

Now, District 4 GOP Supervisor Steve Christy has introduced a plan that far outpaces all the others in revenue generation.

It's a 1/2 cent sales tax.

"This county wide sales tax would generate $75 to $100 million annually," Christy said.

Plus he's suggesting it sunset after ten years, but it still reaches or nearly reaches the billion dollar goal.

Except there is one major hurdle to overcome.

The plan, called the "Just Fix the Roads" plan, which he unveiled in Green Valley last week, must be approved by all five board members.

Here's a copy.

Supervisor Steve Christy Just Fix the Roads Program 10 10 2017 by Tucson News Now on Scribd

Christy is trying to woo District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller, who, so far it seems, is not on board.

One inducement is to have all the money collected given to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) rather than the county for disbursement.

"They have an 11-year history of doing projects on time and under budget," Christy said. "They are the most trusted."

Christy served on the RTA board and has been chair of the Arizona State Transportation Commission.

Under the plan, Christy wants to eliminate the property tax passed last June and replace it with the half cent sales tax.

While a tax increase is anathema to the GOP orthodoxy, Christy believes the severity road deterioration, above that. 

"It's the number one issue in my district," he said. "And I think its the number one issue facing every resident in Pima County."

And he believes he could be forgiven for supporting it. 

"If they want to continue attracting new clientele and new business to come to Pima County and Tucson, they fully understand the need and necessity of improving our decaying roads," he said.

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