County approves road plan fix but it's on a road to nowhere

County approves road plan fix but it's on a road to nowhere

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pima County voted to pass a plan to fix the roads by a 3-2 margin right along party lines.

The plan depends on a half cent sales tax which would need to be approved by the voters.

However, the only way to get the half cent sales tax to the voters is for a unanimous "yes" vote by the county board.

"That clearly isn't coming," said District 3 Supervisor Sharon Bronson.

The board will vote June 19, but it would take a minor miracle to see a united board.

"Our board is not working for what's in the best interest of our residents," Bronson continued.

The political divisions are deep and entrenched.

District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy said he can't approve it because some of the money would not go to road maintenance but to social programs.

That's because District 5 Supervisor Richard Elias demanded and got $58 million for his constituents, many of whom depend on some of those social programs. The sales tax is regressive and burdens the poor the most. His district gets less money because there are not as many bad roads. So he figures that's fair.

Christy does not.

"That's why I had to vote no," he said.

District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller feels the county has the money to fix the roads if it was just appropriately allocated. The county administrator Chuck Huckelberry has issued multiple memos replete with data which show that is a stretch at best.

Meantime, while the board politics, the residents suffer.

"It hasn't been fixed in 30 years," said Madeleine Wachter. standing on the street in front of her Foothills home. She's lived there for 35 years and says one time "they sugar coated it with a light covering, that's it."

She says her roads are no different than roads anywhere else in the county. Everyone is on a equal footing.

"They're terrible, they're deteriorating, they're full of potholes," she said. "And I know people who have tire damage from going into a pothole at night."

And the county today all but insured it will be years before anything gets done even under the best of circumstances

"There's a lot of ifs that are if they are accomplished positively you're still looking at shoveling any dirt to fix our roads in two two and half years," Christy said.

"We're clearly out of tools," Bronson said. "I'm not happy."

But the voters are going to be unhappiest of all.

"I don't care where you live in the county you shouldn't have to put up with it," Wachter said.

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