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County board takes step toward sales tax to pay for road improve - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

County board takes step toward sales tax to pay for road improvements

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The Pima County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance 3-2 Tuesday night to move ahead with a plan to enact a half-cent sales tax to pay for road repairs.

The board must unanimously pass the actual tax plan when it votes June 19, but many consider that unlikely.

The ordinance solidifies the legal parameters of using the tax to collect $900 million over 10 years.

"We have failed the taxpayers over and over again on these roads,” said Supervisor Ally Miller.

More than 70 percent of Pima County roads are classified as failed or in poor condition. The county sales tax aims to cut down that statistic.

"I'm not a particular fan of sales taxes and I think that's problematic in itself but I do think it is time to try and do something,” said Board Chairman Richard Elias.

Miller and Supervisor Steve Christy voted against the ordinance.

"I believe the taxpayers absolutely deserve to have a fund that is iron-clad that doesn't have any possibility of monies being moved,” Miller said.

"The legislature has the opportunity perhaps in the next cycle to merely expand what they already put into place as a legislative option in 2006,” Christy said.

100 percent of the sales tax revenues would go toward upkeep and rebuilding of roads.

The half-cent sales tax plan would also eliminate the 25-cent Road Repair Property Tax enacted in 2017.

"I truly believe that we are going to continue to work on this issue and find a pathway to resolving it,” Elias said.

"Hopefully, staff can come up with plan C,” Supervisor Sharon Bronson said.

Meanwhile, the Pima County Department of Transportation is in the process of preparing for an asphalt testing project on the Southwest Side, testing the durability and longevity of different pavement schemes.

A portion of $16 million from the 1997 HURF fund is being allocated toward the project. 

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