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​How Shopping Local Supports San Tan Valley's Roads: Understanding the Half-Cent Road Excise Tax


The San Tan Valley's road infrastructure has been shaped over the years by an often-overlooked hero: a half-cent road excise tax. This tax, colloquially known as the "pothole tax," was first introduced in 1986 and is the primary funding source for the Transportation Improvement and Maintenance Program (TIMP). The TIMP enables residents to propose necessary road improvements, with projects regularly reviewed by the Transportation Advisory Committee.

In the 1980s, Pinal County was a less populated region, with fewer than 100,000 residents and over half of its roads unpaved. Fast forward to the present day, the region is home to nearly half a million people, and its road infrastructure has seen substantial improvements, thanks to the half-cent tax.

However, as we approach 2026, this crucial tax is set to expire. Recognizing the potential implications, the Pinal County Public Works Department and Transportation Planning Division have launched an awareness campaign, "Preserving Our Future." The campaign aims to emphasize the history and accomplishments of the half-cent tax and the potential future needs of the community.

The importance of this tax goes beyond road improvements. It directly impacts the county's economic growth and community development. An intriguing aspect of this tax is its direct relationship with local commerce. When residents shop locally, a portion of their sales tax contributes directly to this fund.

Shopping within San Tan Valley, and more broadly Pinal County, has a direct impact on the upkeep and enhancement of our roads. Each local purchase contributes a small but significant portion to the half-cent tax, which cumulatively has a substantial impact on our transportation infrastructure. This connection underlines the importance of supporting local businesses - not just for the local economy but also for the county's infrastructure.

Should the tax not be renewed, potential consequences could include increased road degradation, delayed or canceled infrastructure improvements, and even impacts on local economic development. High-quality infrastructure, including roads, is a significant consideration for businesses when deciding where to set up operations. A decline in road quality could potentially deter business investments and thus affect job creation in the region.

As the 2026 deadline looms, it's crucial for the residents of San Tan Valley to understand the role of the half-cent road excise tax and the potential implications of its expiration. Not only does it contribute to road maintenance and improvement, but it also supports local economic development. Shopping locally plays a vital role in maintaining this fund, underlining the importance of supporting local commerce for the future growth and safety of the San Tan Valley community.

A point of clarification is needed concerning the half-cent road excise tax and its relationship to other tax propositions. It is important to understand that this half-cent tax is not the same as Proposition 469 that was on the ballot in 2022.The half-cent road excise tax, or the "pothole tax," has been in place since 1986 and was most recently passed as Proposition 400 in 2005. The funds from this tax are primarily dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of our roadways, ensuring the smooth and safe operation of our transportation infrastructure.

In contrast, Proposition 469, which voters considered in November 2022, was a proposed additional tax specifically intended for new construction projects under the direction of the Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority. The two taxes serve different purposes and should not be confused with each other.

By understanding the distinctions between these two taxes, San Tan Valley residents can better appreciate the role of the half-cent road excise tax and the benefits it brings to our community. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How is road maintenance and repair funded in Pinal County?

Road maintenance and repair in Pinal County is primarily funded through three revenue sources: the half-cent transportation excise tax, vehicle license tax, "use fees" generated from gasoline purchases and other items collected by the State of Arizona and placed in the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF).

Do our property taxes pay for roads?

No, property taxes pay for things like school districts and general government operations but not roads. In Pinal County, roads are only funded through Federal and state grants, state-shared revenues of the Highway-Use Revenue Fund (also known as HURF), vehicle license taxes, and half-cent transportation excise tax (pothole tax).

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Saturday, 15 June 2024

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