It was not very long ago that Pima County voters approved a 20-year, half-cent sales-tax hike to pay for road construction projects.
But this week, a brand-new committee is meeting to discuss priorities for Pima County roads based not on the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) tax, but on a quarter-cent temporary property-tax increase that went into effecgt with the start of the new fiscal year July 1 and is exepcted to sunset in June 2022 unless the Board votes to extend.
The five-year revenue-boost will empower this new Transportation Advisory Committee to discuss priorities among the residential roads that are in unincorporated Pima County, with some data input from officials at the Pima County Department of Transportation.
The committee is made up of residents of Pima County appointed by the Board of Supervisors and/or the County Administrator, an the first meeting was scheduled for this week, going over information provided by PCDOT about the status of the residential roads and how much each repair or repaving will cost.
The committee can consider two extremes of the spectrum or find a balance – on one extreme there is spending all of the money on a few major overhauls where certain roads have failed, while the other extreme is to focus on more roads that need minor repairs.
The committee will meet to plan the first-year priorities and present them to the full Pima County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting in mid-October.
How much authority the committee will ultimately have is not known, as the committee will only submit recommendations, which may be accepted or rejected by the Board of Supervisors and/or PCDOT unless the language of the committee’s mission has the force of law and ultimately prevails, which would be unusual in committees of this nature.
What tends to be unusual, though, is the Board actually going against recommendations of a citizen committee in any significant way. Committee meetings are generally open to the public in accordance with state open-meeting laws.
The final two members of the committee were to be appointed by Supervisor Ally Miller and confirmed by the full Board at its usual Aug. 1 meeting prior to the initial committee meeting.