Just a little over a month ago, we celebrated a major win for the safety and comfort of people on foot in the region, when the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee voted to move our $25 million proposal forward. This was the culmination of years of effort, collaboration, and building a coalition of support for the proposal.
Unfortunately, the tides have quickly turned. Just a few weeks after that decision, the Bond Advisory Committee was faced with the challenging task of whittling the full bond package down to fit within its $640 million funding limit. The Chair, Vice-Chair and Pima County Administrator took the initiative of coming up with an initial “Bond Package Recommendation List” of how to do this. Much to our disappointment and frustration, the list reduced funding for the Pedestrian proposal by more than half, to only $12 million.
Since then, there has been a lot of back-and-forth about how to proceed. Meantime, the Bond Advisory Committee moved to wait to make a decision in order to give everyone – especially municipalities – a chance to review and respond to the proposed package. Knowing that they have difficult decisions to make, we have been working to come up with a balanced counter proposal focused on maintaining the integrity of the original $25 million proposal, while remaining “regional” in scope, for the bare minimum of funding possible.
The revised proposal is shown below. It totals just under $14.5 million and has the following benefits:
- projects included are strong in terms of potential positive impact, leverage, population/needs served, regional connections, etc.;
- it still includes at least one project from each participating jurisdiction;
- it still includes at least one key corridor per City of Tucson Ward;
- and it includes one corridor which borders Pima County, thereby expanding the number of jurisdictions participating/included.
The next Bond Advisory Committee meeting is on Friday, March 13th at 8:00am at the DoubleTree – Reid Park, 445 S. Alvernon Way. We hope that at that point in time, the committee will remember the tremendous support that this initiative has seen and recommend the $14.5 million package. If you can attend and speak up in support of it, please do! Meantime, we’ll let you know there are any new developments.