TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The city of Tucson is holding a special election on May 17 with only one item on the ballot: Prop 411.
In 2017, Tucson voters approved a five-year, temporary half-cent sales tax to fund road repairs and public safety.
That tax is set to expire this year, but Prop 411 would extend that tax for another 10 years in order to expand the city’s road revival plan.
It would bring in an estimated $740 million for road repairs.
“This has been decades in the making,” Tucson mayor Regina Romero said Thursday. “And so, one of the reasons that we decided to make it a 10-year initiative is that it generates enough funds to touch every road in the city of Tucson.”
Previous road repair measures have focused primarily on bigger streets in the city.
The city estimates 85 percent of neighborhood streets are in “poor, very poor, or failed condition.”
“We continually complain about how bad our roads are,” Tucson Metro Chamber chair Edmund Marquez said Thursday. “This is our opportunity to repair our roads. This is our opportunity to invest in our community.”
About 20 percent of the money—roughly $150 million—would go to safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Better bike lanes,” said Marquez. “How many times do we hear about pedestrians being hit by vehicles and killed in our streets? This makes it a safer place for our citizens.”
Prop 411 would not add any new taxes to pay for the investment. It would extend the temporary sales tax for another 10 years.
“We had not really gotten to a point, as a mayor and council, to attack an issue—a big problem, a 600 million-dollar problem—in one fell swoop,” Romero said. “Proposition 411 will let us do that.”
When combined with state and other taxes as well as the half-cent hike approved in 2017, the Tucson sales tax is currently at 8.7 percent.
Ryan Fish is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9 and comes to the Sonoran Desert from California’s Central Coast after working as a reporter, sports anchor and weather forecaster in Santa Barbara. Ryan grew up in the Chicago suburbs, frequently visiting family in Tucson. Share your story ideas and important issues with Ryan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.