CAC’s goal: enhance the region’s future

The Regional Transportation Authority’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is tackling challenging questions about regional transportation priorities and will take on that task using the best available information about our future.

For example, we know the use of autonomous vehicles is emerging, even if we can’t yet predict the pace of consumer integration. We know vehicles that use alternative fuels are becoming more common each year as manufacturers produce new consumer options.

The RTA Next planning process asks the committee members to anticipate our region’s transportation needs for the next 20 years for a new RTA plan.

That daunting task comes with opportunities to anticipate and solve the region’s next challenges – before we face them. As they meet to talk through the potential projects and determine a strategy for prioritizing them, the CAC members challenge themselves to think about how transportation technology is changing, whether it relates to smarter, more connected vehicles, ridesharing, or more congestion due to increased mobility.

They also will consider questions about human behavior: Is the pandemic’s remote work reality going to be transient or permanent? The answer to that question has implications about who will be on the roadways, at what times of day, and how those people will get around.

Compare the CAC’s goal with the committee that preceded it in creating the current RTA plan that ends in June 2026. When Pima County voters passed the RTA plan in 2006, the metro area was booming with new home construction, and the region seemed on an unstoppable path of growth. Managing that growth on our streets was the top priority. In the years since, the condition of the roads has deteriorated, and local officials have sought creative funding strategies for road maintenance.

The CAC is the only committee designated to draft and recommend a new regional transportation plan to the RTA Board. After conducting extensive outreach on a future draft plan, the CAC will make revisions based on public feedback if needed. Along the way, the committee hopes to hear from residents of Pima County and all the municipalities within the county’s boundaries. You can weigh in here.