Pima County’s Christy Delivers “Just Fix The Roads Plan”

Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy

On Tuesday, Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy unveiled his “Just Fix the Roads Plan” at the Green valley Rotary Club. Christy said he chose Green Valley to announce the plan due to the fact that the community has so many failed roads.

Christy noted that Green Valley “has some of the most Poor to Failed-rated roads – if not in all of Pima County – certainly in our District 4.”

Christy praised the the Green Valley Council Roads Committee, which said has “devoted countless hours of selfless commitment to analyzing the community’s street conditions and organizing a professional and rational approach to prioritizing problem roads and streets, and focusing on a sustainable manner and process for repairing them.”

Christy also had high praise for Dick Roberts and Chet Davis, who he described as “two fellow “road warriors.”

Pima County has more than 1,200 miles of roads that have been rated “poor” or “failed,” said Christy, “that’s 2/3 of all the roads. This comes directly from statistics provided by the Pima County Department of Transportation.”

“They are getting even worse with each passing day,” stated Christy. “Clearly, something has to be done, and done now.”

Christy argued that the “road repair situation is the most important issue facing Pima County today.”

Christy plans to present his plan to his fellow supervisors before the end of the year.

Text of Christy’s speech:

The options before us are fraught with roadblocks and dead ends, to use a topical metaphor. They are all time-consuming , complicated, and most likely impossible and futile to attain or even attempt in any reasonable amount of time.

At the County level, there is little hope to find adequate and signifi cant monie s in our General Fund that could properly address our road repair challenges. Though we should continue to look for unnecessary expendit ures, realist ically how much money could be taken out of the Genera l Fund for road repairs without disrupting much of Pima County operat ions?

At the State level, raising the State’s gas tax has an even bleaker future. That would require approval by both the State Legislature and the Govern or. Someone close to the Governor told me that during a recent function, someone asked Governor Ducey if he would support raising the State’s gas tax. His response? He said, “Not only no, but Hell no.”

And what is the point of raising the State’s gas tax if the Legislature sweeps it away?

At the Federal level, no immediate action for road repair seems forthcoming and even if there were, how much would slowly drip down to fixing our roads here in Pima County?

Certainly, there are a number of other options out there: a “vehicle miles traveled” tax; a “special district” tax; a “tax at the gas pump in Pima County” tax – and others.

All of these options would require either voter approval or approval by the State Legislature and Governor – or both.

Each of these plans would take a great deal of time to pursue – time our roads and we don’t have.

Further, the prospects of success in enacting any of these options are next to zero – particularly when it comes to dealing with the State Legislature up in Phoenix.

In the meantime, our roads will continue to deteriorate, making road repair that much more costly and that much more difficult.

Our road repair concept plan, I believe, is the most fair, makes the most sense, is the most efficient and transparent, and will have the greatest countywide support, as well as the greatest and quickest chance of success.

And we can do it together – now. Here is our plan:

Our plan begins with the Board of Supervisors immediately repealing the newly enacted Property Tax for Road Repair. This was a bad tax and a bad plan to fix our roads. However, the County had very few choices.

Annually, countywide, this new property tax is estimated to raise barely a little over 19 million dollars for fixing our 800 million to 1 billion dollar road repair problem.

Clearly, a drop in the bucket all paid for on the backs of County property owners, who already feel over-taxed.

The County Administrator has stated that at the current rate of using this new property tax for road repair, it would take 35 years to fix our roads, and that’s if the roads remain in the very same condition as they are today.

Second – upon repeal of the Property Tax for Road Repair , we propose that the Board of Supervisors pass a countywide, half-cent sales tax. By doing so, this regional sales tax can raise, countywide, over 75 million dollars annually or more than 800 million dollars over the course of 10 years.

Third – we further propose that upon enactment of a countywide half-cent sales tax, that the Board of Supervisors authorize that all revenues generated by the sales tax be directed solely and singularly to the Regional Transportation Authority, and that the RTA has the complete and total direction over the administration of this tax revenue for the singular purpose of fixing our roads – and for fixing our roads only.

That’s it – that’s our plan.

Now let’s look at how it can work and how it can succeed.

The RTA enjoys the universal confidence of Pima County residents. The RTA is an independent, regionally administered transportation-focused entity that has an unprecedented proven track record of success. After 11 plus years, almost 1,000 multi-jurisdictional, mult i-modal transportation enhancement and improvement projects designed for greater mobility and capacity have been conducted and completed on-time and under budget by the RTA.

The RTA’s process for success has been magnified by its transparent, citizen-driven, and publicly accountable methodology that has visible results in practically every corner of Pima County, including our own Green Valley and Sahuarita.

As further evidence shows, as if any further evidence is even needed, that the RTA has the ability to address road repair issues, just last spring, the State Auditor General issued its findings regarding its financial and operational audit of the RTA’s performance – and the RTA passed with flying colors.

The State Legislature mandated this audit, and the RTA received praise and commendation from the very auditors themselves.

Further, with the RTA leading countywide road repair efforts, we can all have confidence that 99% of all tax dollars generated will go directly to road repairs. The other 1 percent will cover the RTA’s cost of administering the entire program.

As a former car salesman, I can tell you – now that’s a good deal.

Citizen input and oversight can be continued and expanded through the newly created Transportation Advisory Committee.

Pima County, the City of Tucson and all incorporated jurisdictions can also contribute to the development of the RTA’s road repair plan.

The RTA can be in constant communication with the public and the Board of Supervisors as to the RTA’s road repair plan’s development, with public “dash boards”, public hearings and meetings, and many other transparent communication conveyances.

And a very important piece of RTA Road Repair Plan must include that all countywide road repair projects be put out to an open and public bid process.

And finally, the RTA Road Repair Plan – funded by a countywide sales tax – must include a “sunset” clause and time limit.

Annual reviews and progress reports until that “sunset” takes effect must be included, too. I would suggest 10 years to “sunset”.

The positive benefits of the RTA Road Repair Plan include:

  • Tax relief by repealing the current Property Tax for Road Repair just recently enacted.
  • Tourists and non-residents of Pima County will contribute and participate in sales tax revenue generation for road repair – not just Pima County residents or property owners alone.
  • The sales tax would not tax food, housing, or medication.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the RTA and its mission back in 2006 by a 60 to 40 % margin. I view our plan as just an enhancement and expansion to the original RTA mission and of an already existing tax.

With our plan, the RTA can continue on its mission to complete road capacity and increased mobility enhancements designed to fight congestion throughout our region – and at the same time begin to conquer our deteriorating and failed roads.

Our road repair plan is an investment in ourselves; the countywide sales tax revenue stays wholly in Pima County.

It does not get shipped off to Washington, DC or up to Phoenix, with the forlorn hope that some of our own dollars will eventually trickle back to Pima County someday, maybe.

Pima County money stays in Pima County, to be invested in Pima County . This plan is not without its challenges.

The biggest and most formidable hurdle that must be cleared if this plan is to succeed is that it requires a 100%, 5 – 0 approval vote by the Board of Supervisors – a daunting task.

That is why I feel that by announcing it today, our plan has been delivered into the public square. Now it can be publicly vetted, analyzed, and discussed in great detail and consideration.

I will be presenting our plan to the newly formed Sales Tax Advisory Committee and to all business and community organizations as well .

I plan to finalize the plan’s wording and place it before the Board of Supervisors for a vote in November or early December at the lat est.

I implore my fellow Board members to put away our differences and to begin working together today to advance the RTA Road Repair Plan – utilizing our concepts rolled out here today- as a platform and model that allow all of us to finally address our road repair needs.

This is not a “Democrat versus Republican” issue. This is not a “Majority versus Minority” issue.

This is, most certainly, not an “Us versus Them” issue. This is an “All of us are in this together” issue.

I am fully open to suggestions and concerns – and criticism – from my fellow members of the Board of Supervisors, and I actively seek their input and support .

Today, here and now, I give them and you my promise and pledge that I will work with each of them in good faith, to seek a workable road repair plan that all of the members of the Board of Supervisors and – most importantly – all of the residents

21 Comments on "Pima County’s Christy Delivers “Just Fix The Roads Plan”"

  1. Seems to me like Christy wants to propagate the RTA into the next decade with more money. wonder who got to him? Oh, wait, the cronies of course. Roads suck for sure but to enact a sales tax in the county that will effect the poorest who really don’t use the roads much if any at all makes no sense to me and rewards the county for the last 30 years of mismanaging the HURF funds and other bond issue monies. SSDD in Pima County politics, screw the people one more time and reward incompetence. I would expect nothing else. BTW, what ever happened to Ally Miller’s road plan. Oh, that’s right. It got buried by the Huckster because he hates her didn’t it? Thought so.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with your point about HURF. Christy mentioned nothing about the mismanagement of those funds and offered no solution in assuring that HURF is directed to the roads and not spent in the General fund. Another tax…what else is new!!

  2. I’m not opposed to taxes per se — we have to fund those things that we rely on government to bring us — fire departments, law enforcement, etc. etc. There is already a half-cent RTA sales tax in Pima County — maybe some of that could go to road repair?

    And which roads? Out here in rural Picture Rocks we have a lot of dirt roads that the County refuses to maintain. Do the 25,000 people who live in the Avra Valley just get to pay with no return? Not fair.

    And the RTA is not responsive to us out here — folks have been trying for years to get a little-used SunVan route in the Arizona Pavilions area extended out to Picture Rocks with a reduced schedule. RTA says No, and now is just eliminating that route, number 411. We on the west side of the mountains have zero public transportation.

    So I’m not opposed to taxes — but I am opposed to just taking our hard-earned money to fix roads in other parts of the county. But then — Supervisor Christy chaired the State Transportation Board when they approved a $15 million, 3-year study — in progress — on how to destroy our communities by running Interstate 11 through the Avra Valley.

  3. Meanwhile, Chuck Huckelberry will be able to use the $84 million (gas tax/vlt) per year for things like the courthouse…soccer fields…OH and check the latest special $15 mil deal for a road for Rocking K Ranch development…read the latest memos on the county administrators page. We don’t need another tax…we need to prioritize and stop wasteful spending on noncore services We need a Board of supervisors and a county administrator who are fiscally responsible. This vote requires a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors.

    • Dwayne Wolfswinkle | October 11, 2017 at 8:20 am | Reply

      WOW, Ally Miller you finally get a supervisor who is aligned with you 95% of the time and when he proposes a plan to take away some of the power abdicated to Chuck Huckster YOU ATTACK HIM. Have you even discussed the plan with him. Sure it has to pass the 100% vote which is unlikely but to blow off the only ally (a person who associates or cooperates with another; supporter.) you have is crazy. Chuck has already marginalized your Road Plan

      Grow up and work with the people who want to work with you, unless it just has to be about you. Your district 1 (I am one) constituents deserve better, finally you are not alone.

      • Mr. Wolfswinkle,
        This isn’t about Steve Christy. He and I work very well together. This is one of those 5% of the time where we will agree to disagree. This is about Chuck Huckelberry and his control over the RTA and the wasteful spending. Period.

  4. How quickly they forget that the RTA was a RIGGED ELECTION by the Chuckster goons!!!Voters overwhelmingly approved the RTA and its mission back in 2006 by a 60 to 40 % margin. LIES!!!!!!

    • On top of that, it was one of those “off time” elections, i.e in May, when low voter turnout pretty much guarantees passage.

      Disingenuous bastards!

  5. Right you are, Lindajo – the RTA story is the template for the way this county works. It works ONLY for the Huckster and friends.

  6. Sorry but no. No new taxes. No more fraud. The trust has been violated. You get no more money. Balance your budgets and listen to our priorities.

  7. I’ve asked this question before. Is there a ethics clause in Chucky’s contract with the County. A moral or ethics part,he works for the Pima County voters! Not the board! So can the Pima county voters fire this incompetent man and send him on his way?

  8. Steve Gardner, PCSD (Ret) | October 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Reply

    Ally Miller, there you go making sense again

  9. Are you kidding?? Another way to fleece the Tax Payers. We already pay approximately 18% in gas taxes. This is just another one of the “Huckster” sneaky deals. Christy is such a nice guy and apparently doesn’t realize that this would be another sneaky way for the “Huckster” to find money for his cronies and pet projects. I hope the “Huckster” is not stabbing Christy in the back.

  10. The Oracle of Tucson | October 11, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Reply

    We don’t have a revenue problem in Pima county, we have a spending problem in Pima County. Pima County is already heavily taxed and its still not enough to cover the graft, the corruption and the cronyism.
    Until that gets under control nothing will change. The three bubble heads and Dinglebery all need to go. Without that change, no amount of money will ever fix Pima country’s financial problems.
    I will never vote yes on anything again until we get better “leadership”.

    The Oracle

  11. Those of us residing in the County of Cochise have some road issues as well—but not like those “holey shit” pathways you have up there. When are you gonna fire the thugs on yer “bored of stupes)? And those other crooked jerks? Oh yeah,—don’t move down here.

  12. If you really want to fix the roads, I mean if you really want to fix the roads. Job one, figure a way to fire Huckelberry!

  13. Working Man Blues | October 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Reply

    As a staunch east side republican turned independent. I voted for Christie. His proposal just proved to me I was was wrong and he is an idiot. A sales tax on top of an already too high sales tax? He won’t get my vote nor my support come reelection time. He can take his tax and spend agenda and go pound sand.

    • You should have voted for Marla Clausen. It was easy to see that Christy was imbedded in the gang. He doesn’t need the money he only wants the power!!

      • Working Man Blues | October 12, 2017 at 6:06 am | Reply

        Hind sight is 20-20. I actually ran into Marla on the campaign trail. Hopefully she can primary Mr Christie out of office. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice. Shame on me.

  14. The county needs to cut expenditures in government. They’re so much waste in county government it’s unbelievable. Too many supervisors and managers. Too many people with jobs for no other purpose other than their friends of somebody. Get county spending under control and use the saved money to work on the roads. That certainly would be a start. Instead of just raising taxes to solve everything and allowing county waste to continue

  15. Is there any way a citizen committee can be formed to study and compare pima county with other like counties and show how others spend more efficiently. Maybe we can uncover the illegal loopholes huck uses and force the pawns on the bos to act? Or sue him?

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