Pima County voters have spoken: Find another way to repair our failed roads.
Proposition 463, which would have green-lighted a $430 million road repair bond package over a five-year period, was going down hard on Tuesday.
With almost 43 percent of Pima County’s registered voters accounted for at 10 p.m., just over 56 percent of county voters said no.
Gary Davidson, an outspoken critic of the roads plan, said voters don’t believe that 70 percent of county roads are in failed or poor condition simply because the county lacks sufficient resources.
“Nor do voters seem to believe the poor condition of our roads is because the taxpayers are insufficiently taxed,” Davidson said. “And it’s time for the county government to begin prioritizing core government services, including road repair and maintenance.”
Davidson has served on the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee representing District 1 since 2006. He was a leading opponent of an $815 million county bond package that went down in flames in 2015.
During the first five years of the repair plan, unincorporated Pima County, which includes Green Valley, would have received $166.1 million, and the Town of Sahuarita would have received $12.1 million.
The bonds would have kept primary property taxes level at 69 cents per $100 of assessed value. If it passed, the tax rate would have been extended from January 2019 through FY 2028.
District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy, who represents Green Valley and part of Sahuarita, said the vote determined whether residents were more sick of failed roads than they are distrusting of the county’s ability to manage a bond package.
County voters believe the latter.
“And, consequently, the voters should have the say,” Christy told the Green Valley News before the polls closed.
Not only do voters have to brave the county’s failed roads, Christy said, this boils down to a pocketbook issue. So having voters decide the fate of this type of plan is much more meaningful, he added.
Christy said there’s also the issue of ballot fatigue, where voters skip initiatives listed at the end of lengthy ballot.
“I’m wondering if people had the fortitude to fill out the entire ballot,” he said.
Since the proposition tanked, the county will have to scrutinize how much HURF — Highway User Revenue Fund — is available for road repairs, Christy said.
Although Pima County will certainly look for a fix at the state Legislature, history shows that counties have yet to earn a win in Phoenix, Christy said.
“There has no been great success with the Legislature, and frankly I don’t think the county sees a great success in the future,” he said.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted, 4-1, on July 3 to ask county residents whether to issue bonds to repair local throughways.
District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller was the lone no vote. She said the board has not prioritized road repairs and has the money in the budget to make it happen if it had the will.
“The people don’t trust us anymore and they shouldn’t trust us,” she said in July.
David J. Del Grande 520-547-9732