Two former CG mayors endorse Pinal road proposition

Heather Smathers, Pinal Central |

CASA GRANDE — Two former Casa Grande mayors have come out in support of two propositions designed to provide money for Pinal County roads.

Bob Mitchell and Bob Jackson agree that the issue is bipartisan and requires all parties to come together to solve it.

“I would have never looked at Pinal County transportation as a partisan issue,” Mitchell said.

Jackson, who not only served as mayor of Casa Grande but also was the public works director for the city, said he knows from experience that the planning of infrastructure takes time.

“This is a 20-year plan,” he said. “Setting it in motion now will allow these roads to be built over time.”

Jackson said residents should remember what Casa Grande’s streets looked like 25 years ago, noting that Kortsen Road was dirt and that Peart Road north of Cottonwood Lane didn’t exist. The plan outlined in the RTA would allow residents to know that the roads needed two decades from now could be anticipated.

“We need to expand the road network,” Jackson said.

Mitchell, who taught high school government, said the county needs “more than rooftops” to get ahead in the economic development arena and said that Casa Grande specifically needs the infrastructure improvement for the currently planned projects.

There is a current Pinal County tax that is specific to roads, used for both construction and maintenance. That tax will sunset in 2025 and supporters of the current RTA that’s on the ballot said it’s important that voters approve the current plan to allow bigger projects.

“We can’t wait for the (current tax) to fall off, we need to plan for it,” Mitchell said.

The Regional Transportation Authority plan as presented would expand the current network of roads in Pinal County, both with improvements to existing roadways and through the creation of new roads. The tax is expected to generate more than $640 million over a 20-year period.

Ballots were mailed to voters this week. There will be no polling places open for voters to cast their ballots; they will need to return the ballots by mail.