As the next RTA plan has been a frequent topic of conversation in the media, RTA Board Chair and South Tucson Mayor Bob Teso highlights the multi-step planning process underway for a new regional transportation plan.
This in-depth planning process allows the public to have a say in prioritizing regional transportation needs to generate additional transportation funds that would not be available otherwise.
June 24, 2021
SUBJECT: MESSAGE FROM THE RTA CHAIR
Dear RTA Stakeholders:
I am sure many of you are wondering why the next RTA plan is getting media and other attention when a draft plan has not yet been prepared. The process to develop the next Regional Transportation Authority plan has several phases that include 1) forming a citizens’ advisory committee, 2) establishing plan priorities, 3) drafting the plan, 4) seeking public input/refining the plan, 5) reviewing and approving the final plan and 6) calling for the election.
We currently are in the second phase, establishing plan priorities, and have worked with the RTA Citizens Advisory Committee to seek public input on transportation priorities for a future plan. The committee is receiving a wide range of input on what should be included in the next plan and how it should be shaped. The committee will be thoughtful in their deliberations and will consider all options, including impacts on air quality. Once the committee prepares a draft plan over the next year, the RTA will conduct an extensive and inclusive public review process. Based on public feedback of the draft, the committee may determine if other plan refinements are needed. After RTA member jurisdictions review the plan and the RTA Board approves it, all eligible voters in Pima County will decide if they agree to support the next RTA plan.
When the RTA was formed in 2004, the jurisdictions saw a need for a new funding approach to address regional transportation issues. The RTA is a state-established taxing district that serves everyone in Pima County and generates about $90 million annually to fund voter-approved RTA improvements. The RTA tax allows the region flexibility to invest dollars toward regional transportation priorities. To recognize its larger impact on our local economies, the RTA has contributed an additional $1.3 billion to date toward regional transportation improvements above and beyond federal and state dollars.
With the resounding commitment of the RTA’s founding board members and other board members since then to collaborate on common issues to resolve them, the RTA has advanced regional transportation infrastructure and our economy in a way that simply would not be possible without the RTA as a regional transportation funding source to supplement other limited local transportation resources.
On behalf of the RTA Board officers, I encourage everyone to celebrate and continue the respectful practice of working together as one region to address regional needs because we all rise as one.
Mayor Bob Teso
RTA Board Chair