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The Dissenting Voice

Support for the transportation plan was not unanimous among editorial board members

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Supporters of the transportation plan whine, "It's the best we can do," when pleading with voters. But here are 26 reasons, Z to A, why both the tax increase and implementation of the plan should be defeated.

Zero money for roadway maintenance, even though this is a critical community need.

Yet another attempt, after four previous overwhelming rejections, to use the regressive sales tax to pay for transportation projects.

Xactly like they did with the 1997 Pima County road-bond proposal, proponents have underestimated the cost of projects while simultaneously promising more than can be delivered.

"Wildlife linkages" related to transportation projects receive $45 million, but at-grade railroad safety improvements, along with bridge repairs, only get a third of that amount. Don't trains occasionally kill human beings at railroad crossings?

Very little public interest in extending the controversial downtown Barraza-Aviation Parkway, but it is allocated $76 million anyway.

Unfair voting structure on the 10-member body which controls the money, resulting in 90 percent of Pima County's population having only two votes.

Trolley project, at a cost of at least $88 million, is a folly of an idea. It would only run between University Medical Center and the proposed Rio Nuevo downtown area. This route makes no sense and will do nothing for most Tucsonans.

Suckers are what Tucson's political establishment want Pima County taxpayers to be. If this tax hike and plan are approved, the transportation costs of new development will be subsidized by the public, not paid for by the growth industry.

Roadways receive almost 60 percent of the total funds, including tens of millions of dollars for several projects in the city of Tucson which were promised, but never delivered, by the 1997 Pima County road bond package.

Quickie election in May intended to hold down voter turnout will cost $1.3 million instead of having the questions on the ballot in September or November, when more people could participate at a lower cost.

Pima County property taxes are the highest in Arizona. Other taxes are rising as gas prices soar! Why increase the sales tax taxes even more?

Only thing Green Valley residents get in the plan is a project pledged to them nine years ago.

No consideration was ever given to requesting less of a sales-tax increase than the maximum-allowed half-cent.

Many billions of dollars are already planned to be spent on transportation projects in Pima County during the next 20 years. If this money is used wisely, and not wasted, it can go a long way toward addressing our transportation problems.

Lots of valid citizen comments were ignored while putting the plan together.

Kolb Road extension project has been vastly underpriced at $9 million, and will be highly disruptive to homes and businesses if built.

Just about $1 in every $13 used to purchase an item in Pima County will go toward sales tax if this proposition is approved.

Impact fees for new development are presently much too low. Raising them to their legal limit would generate large sums for needed roadway projects. But this would mean an end to growth subsidies, and obviously, Tucson's wheelers and dealers don't want that.

Households with low and moderate incomes will be hit hardest by the regressive sales-tax increase.

Grant Road and other major streets could be improved for much less money by simply widening intersections and installing bus pullouts. This would reduce most of the congestion at a tiny fraction of the cost, but this approach was not given serious consideration when the plan was prepared. Instead, many businesses, especially locally owned small businesses, will be devastated by these proposed road-widening projects.

Fourth Avenue and the University of Arizona already have a trolley serving them. They don't need another one.

Enormous campaign contributions by car dealers and home builders, the very people who will profit most from the proposal, are being used to sway voters. But voters have said "NO" four times in the past.

Despite the existence of different funding mechanisms, other than the sales tax, local leaders have consistently ignored them.

Computer synchronization of traffic signals, a cost-effective method of reducing congestion, continues to be difficult to achieve in Tucson. Yet technology improvements only receive $15 million in the plan.

Boondoggle projects, such as spending almost $10 million to install several miles of pavement on Wilmot Road, are included so developers don't have to pay the cost.

Accountability of our elected officials is dismal. From the snail's pace of implementing Rio Nuevo to the broken promises about not using taxpayer money to fund Tucson Electric Park, they have repeatedly failed.

Tucson needs a reasonable transportation plan it can afford and which is funded in large part by higher development impact fees. Implementation of this plan should be overseen by an elected body which is based on the democratic principle of one person, one vote. Since the current proposal does neither of these things, while including several wasteful projects, voters for the fifth time should reject raising the sales tax to subsidize the growth industry. Please vote no.

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