FLORENCE — The Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority is doing all it can to move forward on the transportation projects set to be funded by Propositions 416 and 417, but there is only so much that can be done before a lawsuit from the Goldwater Institute is resolved in the county’s favor, if that occurs.
“We’re doing a lot of the administrative things figuring out how we’re going to go through this process of distribution of funding and that kind of thing. We’re doing a lot of the preliminary work,” said Pinal RTA General Manager Andy Smith. “We’re putting those things together so that once the funding starts to come in, we can start actually doing these projects that were identified in the regional transportation plan.”
Smith said it would be hard to continue making progress in this fashion past the first of the new year.
But Smith said legal counsel expects a decision in June or July.
This has not stopped the Pinal RTA from releasing a schedule with estimated costs for various projects, and from pulling from other revenue to get started on particularly important projects.
The county has moved forward on Cordones Road, near Oracle Junction, and the city of Casa Grande has moved forward on Thornton Road using funds from its own revenue with the hope that the RTA will reimburse the city if and when the tax funds are released.
The Goldwater Institute sued the county on the grounds that the tax is illegal. A judge ruled that funds can still be collected, but not used, while the lawsuit is in progress. The county began collecting the half-cent sales tax on April 1. It was approved by voters last November. County officials have consistently expressed confidence in the county’s legal position on the issue.
The Arizona Tax Court recently dismissed another suit against the tax, by the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona.