The current Regional Transportation Authority plan runs through June 2026 and includes 35 major roadway construction projects to improve mobility, accessibility and functionality of the Tucson metro area’s roadway system. The plan was approved by voters, who also approved a half-cent excise (sales) tax to pay for much of the work, plus funds from other sources.
RTA Next is the planning process underway to draft a new 20-year regional transportation plan and seek voter approval to extend the sales tax and continue to fund transportation improvements throughout the region.
What does it mean when a project is said to have moved from the RTA plan to RTA Next?
Due to a number of factors including economic recession, rising project costs and changes in project scope, several projects in the current RTA plan are in need of additional funding before construction can begin. The RTA Board has determined that one solution to help complete projects that are more expensive to build now is to add the project in the next RTA plan to receive additional RTA funds.
For example, one project considered for additional funding in the next RTA plan by the RTA Board is Silverbell Road between Ina and El Camino del Cerro.
The project was planned as a 3-lane roadway, but traffic patterns show it might be better constructed as a 4-lane roadway, and Pima County and Marana with the endorsement of the RTA’s Technical Management Committee wish to continue with the more expansive plan. The RTA Board has decided to add the expanded project scope to the RTA Next project list, so voters can consider whether they agree with the proposed change and incremental cost increase as part of the whole plan package.
A citizens advisory committee is considering other new projects that will be selected for a draft plan. When the draft is complete, the RTA Board will approve or adapt it before seeking public feedback. Based on this public input, the RTA Board may revise the plan further before adding it to a countywide ballot for voter consideration.
At that point, if voters approve the next RTA plan, the expanded Silverbell project will proceed when scheduled. If the next plan is not approved by voters, the Silverbell project would be funded at the level stated in the current RTA plan if no other funds are available.