How the RTA began

The Regional Transportation Authority, established by the state Legislature in 2004, collects taxes from a special taxing district within Pima County to fund the RTA’s 20-year regional transportation plan.

Since voter approval of the RTA’s plan and half-cent tax in 2006 to fund the plan, the RTA has used $1.3 billion in RTA tax revenues to pay for citizen-recommended transportation projects across the region. The average monthly cost per household of four in Pima County is $18. Groceries and prescription medications, as well as some other transactions, are not subject to the RTA tax.

Prior to the RTA coming into existence, four transportation initiatives failed in the region. To turn the tide, all the RTA member jurisdictions in Pima County came together to focus on a regional approach. Guided by extensive public input and technical support, a citizens’ advisory committee developed a plan that the RTA Board approved and voters ultimately supported.

Along with transit, safety, and environmental and economic vitality elements, the plan includes 35 named roadway projects. RTA member jurisdictions manage project construction across the region, but the RTA Board is solely responsible for plan implementation. A citizens’ oversight committee established in 2006 keeps tabs on finances and progress made in the current plan. RTA Board members include the chief elected officials of the cities of South Tucson and Tucson; the towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita; the Pascua Yaqui Tribe; the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Pima County, and the governor-appointed representative from Pima County serving on the Arizona State Transportation Board.

RTA members manage the transportation projects through intergovernmental agreements, and the RTA reimburses members for allowable costs. Any cost overruns above the ballot-approved amount are the responsibility of the respective jurisdictions.