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RTA OKs $160M to finish, start Tucson-area road projects
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RTA OKs $160M to finish, start Tucson-area road projects

Sabino Canyon road extension project

Five huge concrete pillars jut out from the bottom of the riverbed where the construction of a bridge continues near North Kolb Road where the long-anticipated Sabino Canyon Road extension crosses the Pantano Wash. View is looking towards the southeast. The photo was taken in Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

Caption from Fred. Additional from RTA website. rw

Five huge concrete pillars jut out from the Pantano Wash where workers are building a bridge as part of the extension of Sabino Canyon Road from Tanque Verde to North Kolb Road in Tucson on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. It’s part of a $12.3 million project by the City of Tucson and Regional Transportation Authority. Work started in December and is scheduled for completion in about 15 months.

The Regional Transportation Authority governing board has approved a $160 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, including money to finish major road projects and begin new ones.

The RTA expects to bring in about $76 million in sales tax revenue, about a 2 percent increase.

The actual increase in sales-tax revenue for this fiscal year was about 1.5 percent, lower than the projected 3 percent growth.

The RTA plans to spend about $160 million, including about $92 million on road projects and about $26 million on transit projects.

Projects include finishing:

  • Silverbell Road from Grant to Goret roads;
  • Kolb Road connection to Sabino Canyon Road;
  • Houghton Road from Broadway to 22nd Street;
  • Sunset Road from Silverbell Road to Interstate 10.

Projects getting started include:

  • Tangerine Road;
  • Ina-Interstate 10 interchange;
  • Grant Road between Stone and Park avenues
  • Downtown Links;
  • 22nd Street over the railroad tracks;
  • Valencia Road from Wilmot to Kolb roads;
  • Stone Avenue and Drachman Street intersection;
  • Colossal Cave Road and Success Road intersection;
  • Bus pullouts to replace bus stops on Oracle Road and in South Tucson.

Due to project delays, the RTA spent about half of what it expected to spend on projects this fiscal year.

RTA executive Jim DeGrood told the board the new budget is more realistic and less ambitious.

The RTA continues to spend down a pool of money from 2011 and 2014 bonds that gives it the cash flow to do large projects in the voter-approved plan. The agency spends about $27.5 million per year on debt payments.

The RTA board will have to decide this winter whether to issue another series of bonds in 2017 for about $75 million to keep on schedule with projects or convert to a pay-as-you-go system, which would slow the projects.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 573-4346. On Twitter: @BeckyPallack

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