RTA Next is a public-driven regional planning process, established by the Regional Transportation Authority Board, to develop a new regional transportation plan for the greater Tucson region.
A new regional transportation plan will continue the delivery of transportation projects beyond June 2026, when the current RTA plan and half-cent excise (sales) tax will expire. The current plan and tax were approved by Pima County voters in May 2006. A new plan and tax also will require voter approval.
The RTA, which was established by the state Legislature as an independent regional authority to develop a regional transportation plan and collect funding from the RTA taxing district within Pima County, is governed by a nine-member regional body of local, county, state and tribal officials.
RTA members, local, state and tribal governments, have submited projects through the RTA’s Technical Management Committee for consideration in plan development. Since the RTA is a regional authority, the development of the regional transportation plan itself is not jurisdiction driven. RTA state law dictates one vote per member, which encourages regional cooperation and collaboration.
The RTA Next plan development process is driven by regional public participation, starting with a 35-member citizens’ advisory committee (CAC) established by the RTA Board.
The CAC is tasked with conducting the initial review of regional projects submitted by the local jurisdictions to develop a draft plan based on public input of CAC-adopted regional transportation plan development goals. The process also includes technical guidance from a technical committee to assess project functionality and other plan performance details. The contents of a draft plan will need to match the anticipated RTA revenues that would be collected over a new 20-year period.
Once a draft plan is developed, the RTA will conduct extensive public outreach across the region to seek additional feedback from the public. The committee will revise the plan as needed based on this public feedback of the draft plan. Upon completion, the citizens’ advisory committee will recommend a final draft plan to the RTA Board. RTA member jurisdictions will review and comment on the final draft as well before board approval. Upon approval, the RTA Board will set an election date.
Jurisdictions conduct public outreach for jurisdiction-developed local plans, while the RTA conducts public outreach across the region for development of its regional transportation plan.
For more information about the current plan and project delivery, please visit RTAmobility.com.
Developing a new RTA plan
Since May 2018, the citizens’ advisory committee has received information about the current transportation funding environment and growing regional transportation needs.
The committee has approved guiding principles to consider when they start to develop the new plan. The public weighed in on the guiding principles and goals in late 2019. More than 85% of the 3,100 survey respondents indicated agreement or strong agreement on the following goals: improve the condition of existing roadways, provide efficient crosstown mobility, reduce congestion and reduce crashes at intersections.
Development of a new regional transportation plan will fulfill the RTA’s legal duty to prepare and adopt a regional plan that is funded by the RTA’s excise (sales) tax.
The RTA Next public-driven planning effort will carry forward the goal for the region’s transportation system that was established through the collaborative development of the 2006 voter-approved plan. The RTA’s goal is to provide a safe, reliable and efficient regional transportation system that protects and enhances the quality of life for the citizens of the growing region now and in the future.
The RTA promotes regional cooperation on transportation issues that extend beyond any one jurisdiction’s boundaries. By working together, local governments can effectively solve issues associated with traffic congestion, air quality and access to jobs across the region and beyond jurisdictional boundaries.
The future RTA plan will be developed using an outcome-based approach to achieve the highest levels of transportation system performance desired and supported by the voters.
Plan Development Goals
- Manage and reduce congestion by using strategies and tools such as travel demand management and intelligent transportation systems
- provide safe, reliable, healthy, and efficient regional mobility
- improve transit ridership
- reduce crashes among vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and others
- reduce wildlife-related crashes and provide wildlife connectivity
- improve the conditions of existing infrastructure for all transportation modes
- provide safer, more-connected bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and enhance health through active transportation options
- improve quality of air, water and wildlife habitat, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled
- improve multimodal performance and access to key destinations including, but not limited to, activity centers, workplaces, medical care, educational facilities, and grocery stores
- add multimodal functionality to key corridors
- Investment in the region’s transportation system leads to enhanced regional mobility, safety and reliability to make each of our communities a better place to live.
- A continuation of the RTA excise (sales) tax within Pima County would help meet the transportation demands to address varied needs within our region and will leverage other transportation resources, such as federal grants
- The countywide RTA excise (sales) tax provides the most flexible transportation funding solution to address regional transportation priority needs.
- Current RTA revenues represent the largest annual average transportation funding source for our region to supplement state and federal resources.
- Through 2045, the region has identified funding needs totaling $17 billion. A new RTA plan and tax extension, if approved by voters, would contribute approximately $2 billion toward addressing that funding need.
RTA Plan Development Timeline
- May 2018 – Established RTA Citizens Advisory Committee to draft a new 20-year regional transportation plan
- May 2018 to January 2020 – Development, public review and CAC-adoption of plan development guiding principles and goals
- January 2022 – New members added to the CAC
- August 15, 2022 – Updates made to guiding principles and goals
- Fall 2022/Winter 2023 – CAC is developing a draft list of named projects for RTA Board review
- Winter/Spring 2023 – CAC will consider funding allocations for transit, safety, environmental and economic vitality improvements
- July 1, 2023 – CAC is tasked with providing a draft plan to the RTA Board by this date
- Dates TBD – Public input on initial draft plan; draft plan refinement as needed
- Dates TBD – Draft plan review/final approval by RTA Board
- Date TBD – Future election for new RTA plan consideration by eligible voters of Pima County