The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the fiscal manager of a $2.1 billion, 20-year regional transportation plan and transaction privilege tax (or excise tax), which funds the voter-approved plan. The tax is collected in the state-established RTA special taxing district within Pima County The RTA plan and tax measures were approved on May 16, 2006, and are effective through June 30, 2026.
The RTA is managed by Pima Association of Governments (PAG), the region's metropolitan planning organization. Projects in the plan are implemented by the RTA's member jurisdictions.
The plan includes roadway, transit, safety, environmental and economic vitality improvements. Plan goals include improving safety, cross-town mobility and reducing congestion. The RTA has completed nearly 785 projects through July 2017.
The RTA was formed in 2004 after legislation creating the authority was signed by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano in April and the RTA became effective Aug. 25, 2004. As part of an extensive public involvement process, a diverse 35-member citizens committee and a 22-member technical committee developed the RTA plan in 2005 for voter approval in May 2006.
The RTA is governed by a nine-member board, which meets monthly. A Citizens Accountability for Regional Transportation (CART) Committee, established by the board, meets as needed to provide oversight on the implementation and fiscal management of the plan. A Technical Management Committee also meets to manage technical issues that may arise. Both committees report to the RTA Board.
RTA State Statute
State statute provides that the Regional Transportation Authority is a public body and all meetings are open to the public. Under the RTA statute, none of the RTA members has veto power which helps to foster regional collaboration.
RTA Excise Tax
The RTA plan is funded by a countywide transaction privilege tax, or excise tax, which is collected by the State of Arizona. The state, in turn, transfers the collected funds to a regional transportation fund account. The tax may be collected for a maximum period of 20 years as spelled out in the ballot. The tax applies to visitors as well as residents of Pima County.
Sales Tax Collections
The RTA transaction privilege (excise) tax* is assessed in six major categories:
- Retail Sales
- Restaurant & Bar
- Rental of Real Property
- Rental of Personal Property
*Grocery and pharmaceutical items are tax-exempt.