Yes: State funding can't provide needed roads

Steve Miller, Pinal Central |

I like to think I am a problem solver and so appreciate the confidence that the voters of Pinal County have shown by electing me to the Board of Supervisors, not once, but twice. Sometimes to fix something, it is necessary to put an important and costly issue before the voters, like Propositions 416 and 417, which target transportation infrastructure. For the past 10 years, the state of Arizona has traditionally decreased the funding for county and city transportation projects, which include the maintenance of existing roads and the building of new roads. That money will never be recovered.

I have heard, for a number of years, the frustration of citizens in regards to how poor our transportation infrastructure has gotten. Citizens want to know what Pinal County and its cities can do to address this serious issue. A Regional Transportation Authority was formed and collaborated for over two years with all Pinal County cities and the county to explore the highest needs that will benefit the county the most. A plan was implemented; 416 is a list of all the projects, 417 is the funding.

These propositions are for all those looking to the prosperity and safety of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Well-maintained existing and new roads, highways and freeways bring employment opportunities in the form of new jobs and are vital to providing public safety.

Proposition 417, the funding portion, increases taxes one half of one cent, $0.005, to the first $10,000 of government county purchase. For example, the tax increase on a $30,000 car is $50 and on a $4 cup of coffee, two cents. Granted, this is a tax increase; which everyone knows I am not a tax guy, but it is also a solution to a problem that our community has. Other solutions have been proposed such as cutting funding to other programs such as airports, hiking trails, parks, etc.

It is up to you as voters. A yes vote is for the maintenance and construction of roads, a no vote is status quo. Funding has not been adjusted since 1991, but the cost of construction has risen. Your tax dollars that are currently collected are not enough to fund proper maintenance.

For those that are concerned on how the monies will be managed, rest assured they will be placed in a separate account that will be designated specifically for the projects listed in the plan. It will be the responsibility of the RTA board to oversee the expenditures for the 20 years. We cannot expect the RTA board members to be the same during the 20-year duration; however, as with government programs, it will be subject to the same rules and regulations as the current board. The monitoring will be the same as for any other government program.

Join me in voting yes for 416 and 417.

Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, is chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.