For the second time, the Regional Transportation Authority of Pima County performed well in a legislatively mandated performance audit of the 2006 voter-approved regional transportation plan.
Under the 15-year audit conducted by the Office of the Arizona Auditor General (Arizona Revised Statutes 41-1279.03), the RTA successfully met its statutory and fiduciary responsibilities under A.R.S. 48-5301 through 48-5354.
The RTA plan and a half-cent excise (sales) tax to fund it were both approved by Pima County voters in May 2006. The RTA, an independent special taxing authority established in Pima County under the state law, administers the collected funding and implementation of the plan. RTA revenues may only be used on voter-approved project scopes and eligible costs.
The audit affirmed that RTA plan projects were completed as planned and realized many accomplishments. Of the 51 RTA plan projects (plan segments) envisioned in 2006, 45 improvements — or 88% — were completed or in progress as of June 30, 2021. The remaining projects are scheduled to be started within the remaining RTA plan timeframe as promised to the voters. The current plan is effective through June 2026.
The audit team reaffirmed that the local entities managing the design and construction of the RTA plan projects under intergovernmental agreements with the RTA are responsible for providing local funding for project costs over the amount made available in the RTA agreements to complete the remaining RTA projects.
Overall, the audit recommends the RTA:
- requires member jurisdictions to submit complete capital project cost estimate updates and actual expenditure data (regional and local sources) on an annual or as needed basis with the RTA monitoring and summarizing the revised cost estimates in addition to all available funding sources to pay for project costs to assist with gap analysis.
- works with local jurisdictions to secure needed non-RTA funding for RTA plan projects before and after the end of the RTA plan.
The full report can be found here: RTA 15-year performance audit. Other recommendations in the report are related to Pima Association of Governments (PAG), which is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for Pima County.
“We agree with the recommendations of the auditors,” said RTA Executive Director Farhad Moghimi. “This audit process further validates the value that the RTA brings to regional collaboration to meet voter expectations.”
RTA Board Chair Peter Yucupicio, Chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, lauded the audit findings.
“The most important responsibilities of public servants are fulfilling our fiduciary commitments to the public and delivering on promises made to the voters. The RTA has proven time and time again that it is a well-managed and trusted organization,” Yucupicio said.
The Regional Transportation Authority is the fiscal manager of the $2.1 billion plan approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006. The RTA Board is comprised of representatives from Pima County; the Cities of Tucson and South Tucson; the Towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita; the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Tohono O’odham Nation. A Pima County representative of the Arizona State Transportation Board also serves on the board. For more information about the RTA plan, visit RTAmobility.com or call (520) 792-1093.