Regional Transportation Authority of Pima County RTA

Getting the Green Light on
Transportation Initiatives
Drafting Successful Ballot Measures
Center for Transportation Excellence Conference
June 12, 2007
Gary Hayes, Executive Director
Pima Association of Governments/Regional Transportation Authority
Katrina Heineking, General Manager
Sun Tran/Van Tran
Pima County Profile
• 1 million population in Pima County
32% Hispanic
52% White/Non-Hispanic
3% African American
13% Other
• 54% of county residents live in Tucson
• University of Arizona
• No cross-town freeway
78% of population located in Pima and Maricopa Counties.
Pima County Government Profile
• Eight jurisdictions
• Cities and town administered by “Strong City
• Two Tribes governed by councils with a
tendency of rapid turnover
Past Transportation Initiatives
In the last 20 years, four transportation
initiatives have failed.
• 1986 County-wide loop freeway FAILED 57-43
• 1989 County-wide general road improvement/ transit
enhancement plan FAILED 61-39
• 2002 City of Tucson initiative with grade-separations on
main arterials FAILED 69-31
• 2003 City of Tucson initiative with a light-rail focus
FAILED 63-37
Starting Fresh with a New Plan
• Legislature granted “permission” to develop
plan and funding
• RTA serves eight local jurisdictions
• RTA Board consists of one elected official
from each jurisdiction and an governor’s
• 20-year regional transportation plan developed
with assistance Citizens Advisory Committee
and Technical Management Committee
Creating a Successful Strategy
• Overcame lack of trust in government
• Engaged the diverse stakeholders
• Worked with local media and met regularly with
editorial boards
• Gained buy-in not only from all Board members
but all local elected officials
• Polled, surveyed and reacted
Creating a Successful Strategy
• Conducted extensive public involvement
 27 Open Houses
 400 Presentations to civic, neighborhood groups and
other organizations
 3 major news conferences
 Booths at malls, home shows, etc.
 Three phases of feedback
• Developed and implemented Marketing Plan
Creating a Successful Strategy
• Used simple, consistent messages
Tax equal to a mere penny for every $2 spent
Everyone contributes
Improvements enhance regional mobility
Where are we if the plan fails?
• Separated government from the campaign to
ensure integrity
• Sought buy-in from business leaders, who in
turn raised $1.1 million in support for the
The Ballot Measure
• $2.1 billion, 20-year multi-modal plan
• Funded by county-side half-cent sales tax
• Plan elements
Roadway, 58.5%
Safety, 9.0%
Environmental & Economic Vitality, 5.8%
Transit, 26.7%
Getting the Green Light
May 16, 2006
Pima County
voters approve
RTA Plan by
3-to-2 margin
Transit Element Details
• 20-year plan divided into 4 periods, with transit
improvements beginning in 1st period
• Eight transit projects
Extended weeknight service
Extended weekend hours
Added frequency/area expansion
Special needs/paratransit
Express service enhancements
Modern streetcar
Neighborhood circulators
Park-and-Ride lots
Transit Project Status
One year after the vote…
• Plugs – During rush hours added buses assigned to busiest
• Weeknight service extension on two of three phases
Total RTA Plan Project Status
One year after the vote…
$119 million in RTA funding has been committed
91 projects have been approved for funding
68 projects in the planning & design phase
15 projects under construction
2 transit projects have
been implemented
• 6 projects have
been completed

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