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Road projects drop cited in Pima County plan to lay off 36 transportation workers

Road projects drop cited in Pima County plan to lay off 36 transportation workers

Pima County officials have instructed the Transportation Department to lay off 36 workers as road construction projects wind down, partly due to voters’ rejection of a bond package in November.

The affected employees were tied to either road construction projects with the county’s 1997 Highway User Revenue Bond Program or the voter-approved Regional Transportation Authority, says a memo authored by Deputy County Administrator Carmine DeBonis.

Employees were notified this week, with the layoffs scheduled for March 11.

The county Transportation Department had restructured last July, DeBonis said, eliminating 16 vacant positions. Today, the county has 270 employees in the transportation department.

The defeat of the proposed $430 million county bond project in November closed the door on any new county road projects.

“The failure of Proposition 463-Regional Road Reconstruction Preservation and Repair in the November 2018 election ... results in staffing levels exceeding projected future workload needs,” wrote DeBonis in an internal county memo.

Pima County will shift its attention to increased road maintenance in the future, he said, but needs to reduce overall staff size.

The county has a backlog of unmet road repair and maintenance needs estimated to cost more than $1 billion.

“Faced with a constantly growing County roadway infrastructure maintenance deficit exceeding $1 billion with over $882 million in pavement alone, the department is forced to reduce workforce expenditures and redirect limited available funds to maximize network preservation,” wrote DeBonis.

The memo says officials will attempt to find new jobs in county government for the targeted employees.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson

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Reporter

Joe has been with the Star for six years. He covers politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona. He graduated from the UA and previously worked for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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