Arizona House Bill 2292, which passed in the spring 2003 session of the Arizona Legislature, established the Maricopa Association of Governments Transportation Policy Committee which was tasked with developing a Regional Transportation Plan for Maricopa County, and established the process for an election to extend the current half-cent County Transportation Excise Tax. On November 2, 2004, voters in Maricopa County approved Proposition 400 to extend the half-cent sales tax for transportation for an additional 20 years to 2026. The extension began January 1, 2006 and ends on December 31, 2025.
In accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes §42-6105.E, 56.2 percent of the Proposition 400 sales tax collections is distributed to freeways and state highways; 10.5 percent is distributed to arterial street improvements; and 33.3 percent is distributed to the public transportation fund. The Regional Transportation Plan thus has three major components: Freeways/Highways, Arterial Streets, and Transit.
The Regional Transportation Plan Freeway Program includes new freeway corridors to serve growth in the region, and improvements to the existing system of freeways and highways to reduce current and future congestion and improve safety. The work includes new freeway corridors, additional lanes on existing facilities, and new interchanges at arterial cross streets, high occupancy vehicle ramps at system interchanges, noise mitigation, litter and landscape maintenance programs, freeway management systems, and freeway service patrols.
The Regional Transportation Plan Freeway Program is funded by three primary revenue sources: the Proposition 400 half-cent sales tax, ADOT funds dedicated for use in Maricopa County, and federal highway funds.
The Pima Association of Governments is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for Pima County with program areas that include regional transportation planning. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), a regional governmental entity established in August 2004, developed a 20-year, $2.1 billion regional transportation plan. This RTA plan was approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006 along with a half-cent sales tax to fund projects outlined in the plan over a 20-year period ending in 2026.
The RTA plan as outlined in 2006 includes roadway, safety, transit, and environmental and economic elements.
The Pima Association of Governments receives annual funding from the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund, which consists of fuel taxes, vehicle license taxes, registration fees, and other sources. This fund is divided by state statute among the Department of Public Safety, ADOT, and counties, cities, and towns. ADOT receives 50.5 percent of the fund after an initial distribution to the Department of Public Safety and other items. ADOT sets aside 12.6 percent of these funds by state statute, plus another 2.6 percent by State Transportation Board policy, into the Maricopa Association of Governments and Pima Association of Governments. The Pima Association of Governments is allocated 25 percent of these set-aside funds. These funds are split between state routes and highways, and arterial roadways.
ADOT’s share of federal highway funds forms the basis for its highway construction program, of which a 13 percent share is reserved for highways in the Pima Association of Governments area.