The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved $56 million for a road repair and preservation program for fiscal year 2020/2021 at Tuesday’s Board meeting.
The Pima County Department of Transportation will use the funding to repair and preserve approximately 45 miles of arterial and collector roads and 127 miles of local roads during the fiscal year. The criteria for prioritizing roads slated for repair was developed over the course of the previous fiscal year with guidance from the Pima County Transportation Advisory Committee.
A list of local roads for repair in Fiscal Year 2020/2021 is available here. The list of arterial and collector roads for repair is available here. The Department of Transportation also has an interactive map showing planned, active, and completed road projects.
Funding for repairs comes from a combination of State-shared revenues called Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF), remaining local road repair funds from Fiscal Year 2017/2018 and Certificates of Participation. Certificates of Participation are a financing option typically paid off in 3 to 5 years using existing revenue sources in the General Fund of the budget. This borrowing will only be for improvements that have an expected life of 20 to 30 years.
Approval of the Fiscal Year 2020/2021 road repair program is a continuation of the Board of Supervisors’ policy approved in Nov. 2019 that commits to repair all County roads by Fiscal Year 2030. That policy, known as Pay-As-You-Go or PAYGO, will use the General Fund to pay for County capital infrastructure projects, including road repair in the unincorporated county.
The PAYGO program was developed in response to fully transition from voter-authorized general obligation bond funding of capital improvements, to a PAYGO program. In 1997, County voters approved a HURF bond program that has since funded hundreds of roadway improvement projects to increase capacity. However, the current funding sources available to Pima County remain inadequate to address the growing road-repair needs.
County Administration recommended the Board defer the PAYGO program for the 2021 fiscal year as result of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead use short-term funding through Certificates of Participation in order to maintain the road-repair momentum the County has built up over the past two budget cycles. Since Fiscal Year 2018/2019, the Department of Transportation has repaired approximately 160 miles of roadways.
When resumed, a fully funded PAYGO program will provide up to $50 million a year for the construction and maintenance of County infrastructure and facilities, including roads, without having to resort to voter-approved debt.