A lot has changed since 1986, when the fund first passed. The population of Pinal County had nearly doubled from 98,044 to 192,395 in 2002 – the road maintenance fund had made a significant impact on the community and had helped with the economic and population growth of the region.
In the summer of 2003, increasing sales tax revenues started to fall in line with projections, and the population continued to grow exponentially. Facing the sunset of the road maintenance fund in less than three years, local leaders started a public conversation to consider reauthorization.
Later that fall, in September of 2003, leaders from Pinal County and all of the incorporated cities and towns came together to have their first meetings to discuss the issue. Their vision was to “Gain public support for reauthorization of the Pinal County Transportation Road Maintenance Fund to continue development of an improved, safe, and efficient regional transportation system acceptable to all countywide jurisdictions and in accordance with regional planning efforts.”
In order to achieve this vision, they established three goals: 1) Develop an integrated, efficient, safe, and balanced transportation system for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. 2) Develop a transportation system that is acceptable to all partners and in accordance with adopted regional planning concepts. 3) Attain the level of funding needed to complete the identified transportation projects to serve the region over a 20-year period.
Our local leaders recognized that they could achieve these goals with a continuation of the existing road maintenance fund, replacing the identical one that was set to expire on December 31, 2006. The issue was placed on the ballot as Proposition 400 for the November 8, 2005, election.
The proposal would continue to solely fund essential transportation projects within Pinal County with the added ability to focus on multi-modal transportation systems, including single and multi-use trails, sidewalks, curbs, and pedestrian pathways; Regional transportation studies; as well as cooperative transportation projects and studies between Federal/State governments and Pinal County/incorporated cities and towns.
Pinal County voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 400 with 73.7% of the vote. It remains in place today, with a current expiration date of December 31, 2026. Since 2005, it has been used to fund local projects to pave and fix roads, improve safety, and support economic development, as our community has nearly doubled again in the last 20 years.