Pima County supervisors to take their case for gas-tax hike to Legislature

2013-05-15T00:00:00Z Pima County supervisors to take their case for gas-tax hike to LegislatureJoe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Call it the county road show.

A majority of the Pima County Board of Supervisors say they will be heading to the Legislature in the next session, touting the benefits of increasing the state gas tax.

The board voted 4-1 to back new strategies to bolster the county's transportation budget, including lobbying the Legislature for a statewide 10-cent-per-gallon tax hike on gasoline.

Supervisor Ally Miller was lone vote against the proposal.

Supervisor Ray Carroll said the county has to try any tool it can to raise revenues for fixing crumbling streets.

"You need to cast a very wide net when you approach the Legislature … proposing a dedicated funding stream on transportation," he said. "You never know what will hit a responsive chord."

He said many of his constituents are concerned about the issue, which cemented his support.

"I am willing to go to Phoenix as a Republican and say, 'Only we alone can fix this problem,' " Carroll said.

Supervisor Richard Elías was less optimistic of the county's chances to sway Maricopa County-based Republican legislators next year.

"I don't really think so. But I think it is important that we make the case so that the people at the state Legislature start to understand what a crisis they've created for people across the state of Arizona," Elías said.

He said it often takes years of lobbying efforts to make headway at the statehouse.

"While I say, 'It is a shot in the dark,' it is more like a long-term strategy," he said.

On Monday, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the county must raise taxes to meet a growing backlog of street maintenance.

"The Tooth Fairy will not fill our potholes. We can only help ourselves," the county administrator wrote in a memo to the board.

"If we want to solve our own transportation problems, the solution is increased transportation-related taxes."

One of the biggest sources of funding - the state's Highway User Revenue Fund - hit a 13-year low in revenue in the last fiscal cycle, according to a county staff report.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at 573-4346 or jferguson@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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