TUCSON – Seventy percent of Pima County’s roads are in poor or failing condition, according to the County Department of Transportation. They won’t be fixed any time soon after last night’s vote on Proposition 463.
Voters rejected the proposition by about 40 thousand votes, with 162,245 “No” votes to 123,630 “Yes” votes, or almost 57% to about 43%. It would have authorized the sale of $430 million in bonds to fund road repairs in the county and surrounding towns, including Tucson.
“It was a referendum last night on the County Board of Supervisors and the county administrator that the taxpayers don’t trust them as good stewards of their money,” said Chris King, Chairman of Stop Prop 463 Road Bonds.
County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “We’re disappointed.”
We asked Huckelberry, ” Do you think there’s a perception that you and the supervisors don’t spend taxpayers wisely?” He said, “That’s a story and a theory that’s being advanced by one member of the Board, and they’re advancing it in any way and everywhere they can. And using information that’s not accurate and not correct.”
That supervisor would be Ally Miller, who did not return our calls and emails requesting an interview. Miller (R-District 1) donated $800 to the Stop Prop 463 Road Bonds committee.
Huckelberry said some good news for homeowners is on the horizon. “What will happen is in the next few years, taxpayers will actually see their property taxes go down from what’s called debt service. And it’s on the secondary levy, so they’ll actually get a tax reduction.”
If the proposition had passed, the bond money would have fixed half the roads, Huckelberry said. An estimated 1.8 billion is needed to fix all of them.
Chris King said his proposal to fix the roads is, “Start with a line by line budget review, find out where we can trim the budget, and basically trim, like all the other taxpayers do.”
Huckelberry said, “I think now we’re going to go back and I have to provide the Board with a legislative agenda.” One of his possible proposals could be discussing with the Board the possible implementation of a half-cent sales tax for the Regional Transportation Authority, with revenues going to fix the roads.
So now it’s back to square one regarding how the roads will be fixed. And drivers will continue to have to deal with the potholes and related road problems
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