PROPOSITION 409

Prop. 409: $100 million bond to repair city streets remained a tossup late last night

2012-11-07T00:00:00Z 2012-11-07T02:08:14Z Prop. 409: $100 million bond to repair city streets remained a tossup late last nightDarren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 07, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The vote on Tucson's $100 million road bond was too close to call Tuesday night.

As of press time, 50 percent of Tucson voters were supporting the bond while 49 percent had voted no with about half the precincts reporting.

If voters don't approve it, the city will have to head back to the drawing board to find money to fix its dilapidated roads.

Over the past few years, the city watched its coffers shrink and its roads crumble as the Legislature seized highway funds to balance its own budget.

As a solution, the city asked residents to approve Proposition 409, a $100 million bond to repair local streets and begin to address the city's $837 million in unmet transportation needs.

The bond would provide $20 million annually for five years and fix about 31 percent of major roadways and collector streets and 7 percent of residential streets.

Taxpayers would see an $18-a-year increase in their property taxes for every $100,000 of assessed value on their homes.

All but $1 million of the bond money would be allocated to road repairs.

City officials have stressed the $1 million would not go to outside companies to pay for expenses related to financing the bonds.

If the city wants to apply the money to something other than road repair, it must take the matter back to the voters for approval.

The city will set up a citizens' advisory committee to decide which streets get repairs.

Each council member and the mayor would get to appoint a member, with City Manager Richard Miranda appointing the remaining four seats.

Backers of the proposition, including Mayor Jonathan Roths-child, have said roads are an important part of economic development and the city can't rely on the state for funding anymore.

Critics of the proposition, such as Councilman Steve Kozachik, have said the city squandered too much trust over the years and the bond was doomed for failure.

Reporter Darren DaRonco can be reached at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com

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