RTA Next Plan Development
The Regional Transportation Authority Board established a citizens’ advisory committee to develop a draft regional transportation plan to continue regional transportation improvements beyond the 2006 voter-approved 20-year plan and half-cent excise (sales) tax which expire in June 2026.
The RTA would like to present a new plan to the public before then for Pima County voter consideration. The RTA is a taxing district within the boundaries of the county.
A final draft plan is nearing completion at the RTA Board level. The board is considering recommendations from the citizens’ advisory committee and a technical committee to finalize a draft plan for public review and input. Public outreach is anticipated to begin in spring 2024.
The $2.34 billion plan will include named roadway corridor (multimodal), transit, environmental, and safety and active transportation (bike and pedestrian) improvements.
Plan Development Process
The process to develop a draft plan includes the following steps:
- Educating the CAC about the history of the RTA and the statutory and policy requirements for developing a new plan
- Developing a named roadway (multimodal) corridor project list for the Roadway element
- Reviewing the Transit, Safety, Environmental and Economic Vitality Elements, and subelements to allocate funds and make further recommendations on elements/subelements.
- Preparing a draft plan for RTA Board review
- (RTA Board) Approving the draft plan for public review or making revisions, if needed
- Presenting the draft plan to the public for feedback
- Revising plan based on public input (as directed by the RTA Board)
- Finalizing the draft plan for voter consideration
Roles in Plan Development
RTA Citizens Advisory Committee – directed by RTA Board to draft a 20-year regional transportation plan with a balanced budget. The CAC does not have a policy role and may not recommend a plan that is not consistent with the RTA’s governing laws and policies.
RTA Technical Management Committee – provide technical support to the CAC through an iterative process and technical recommendations to the CAC. Also, TMC members submitted an original list of project proposals from each RTA member jurisdiction for CAC consideration for plan development.
RTA Board – provides overall policy and budget direction to committees for plan development, approves the initial draft plan for initial public review and the final draft plan for consideration by Pima County voters within the RTA taxing district.
Staff – Staff ensure that statutory, policy, budget and administrative requirements are being met and support the RTA Board and committees on preparing and conducting all meetings. Staff are professionals with expertise in transportation planning, engineering, finance, and public engagement that are employed by the Pima Association of Governments, the region’s metropolitan planning organization, which manages the RTA.
- RTA Board and committee meetings are open to the public, and notices are posted online a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the meetings.
- The public may submit call to the audience comments as directed in the meeting notice at the top of each posted agenda.
- The public may share feedback on regional transportation priorities at any time at info@RTAmobilty.com.
- Once a draft plan is available for public input, comments may be submitted through online comment forms and at other RTA-sponsored events.
RTA Next Public Outreach
The RTA uses a variety of outreach methods to seek feedback from the public. Once a draft plan is ready for review, a variety of materials will be available to help answer questions and to share the transportation and economic benefits of the content of the draft plan.
Here are a few examples of outreach methods that may be used:
- Public notices/brochures
- Public meetings – Open Houses (virtual or in-person)
- Community group presentations (Q&A)
- Stakeholder group meetings (Q&A)
- Surveys (Pop up or other survey methods)
For questions about RTA Next plan development or to submit requests for a speaker, please send an email with your contact information to info@RTAmobility.com.
Project Activities Ineligible for RTA Funding
Why is local street maintenance not included in the RTA Next plan?
- Under state RTA law, routine maintenance of pavement (pothole repair, preservation treatments, etc.) is ineligible for use of RTA sales tax funding. However, capital maintenance (pavement reconstruction) of regional corridors can be included in the plan.
- Capital roadway corridor improvement projects included in the plan may also include traffic signal modernization, reconstruction of pavement, and/or other transportation infrastructure.
What are other ineligible project costs? (flood control, utilities, etc.)
- Drainage work, beyond those improvements directly related to a specific corridor project area, is not eligible for RTA funding. Regional flood plain and flood control projects are funded by a countywide property tax within the Regional Flood Control District.
- In general, utility improvements are not eligible for RTA funding, and the costs must be paid for by the respective utility provider or local jurisdiction.
With or Without RTA Next
The 2006-voter approved RTA plan invested more than $1.6 billion in transportation improvements across the region to date, including new or enhanced transit services for Sun Tran, Sun Van, Sun Express, Sun Shuttle and Sun Shuttle Dial-a-Ride.
With RTA Next, transit services representing 30% or approximately $30 million of regional transit services and currently funded under the 2006-voter approved RTA plan, will continue to be funded using the RTA sales tax. In addition, new transit services as identified in the RTA Next plan will be funded.
Without RTA Next, expanded evening and weekend and other transit services funded by the 2006 RTA plan could cease unless another funding source is identified.
Also, without additional sales tax revenues from RTA Next, the region will lack the ability to secure a higher level of new state or federal funds or grants that require a local match to benefit all communities across Pima County that are within the RTA’s regional taxing district.