On Nov. 4, voters will decide the fate of Props 200 and 201, which call for increased taxes to fund a variety of transportation projects and services, including a light rail system.
The props would raise the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.3 percent (raising the total sales tax inside the city limits to 7.9 percent) and increase construction contracting tax from the current 2 percent to 6 percent. (The construction contracting tax is paid on construction projects, so it would affect the cost of work ranging from new homes to roof repairs.)
The money would be spent in the following ways:
· 32 percent pays for an immediate expansion of the bus system, including a rapid transit system that would include shorter waits at stops for riders and longer hours of operation.
· 22 percent pays for a 13-mile light rail system that would tie into a better bus system. While routes would have to be finalized, the plan calls one track running east from downtown, moving along Sixth Street past the University of Arizona before jogging south to Broadway Boulevard, where it would continue east past both major malls all the way to Prudence Road. The second route would travel south along South Sixth Avenue to the Laos Transit Center at Irvington Road.
Proposition supporters estimate the light rail system will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $455 million. They hope that roughly 60 percent of the cost will be picked up by the federal government.
Supporters estimate that construction on the system could begin in 2010 and be finished by 2012.
· 20 percent pays for repair of residential streets. This portion would be front-loaded so the repair work would be done in the first years after the proposition's passage.
· 10 percent pays for expansion of sidewalks and bike paths.
· 8 percent pays for expansion of the Van Tran system that helps disabled Tucsonans.
· 6 percent pays for expansion of downtown's Old Pueblo Trolley so it would link into the Rio Nuevo development.
· 2 percent pays the cost of adding police officers to the traffic enforcement beat.