The Regional Transportation Authority board is considering up to $175 million in bonds this week to pay for road construction in Pima County.
The 20-year transportation plan calls for $2 billion in spending to fix roads, add sidewalks and increase capacity of overcrowded roadways.
“The bond request for at least this round of the bonds, we’re looking at up to $175 million to complete a list of projects, and those project are consistent of the projects that were in the second round of the RTA plan,” he said. “we’re requesting for additional funding to be able to initiate construction for those projects.”
Without the bond, which is a government loan against the sales tax revenue that pays for the road projects, a number of projects would be delayed, said Farhad Moghimi, the executive director of RTA.
“It’s difficult to pay as you go because we’re talking about large infrastructure projects,” he said.
It will take several more years to collect the money needed for many of the projects in the plan that are scheduled to be under construction in that time, he said.
“Just to give you an example, we have one project on the list which is the Ina traffic interchange at I-10. That project alone, we would probably have to wait at least three or four years before the revenue is in place before we can initiate the project. So the demand is there, we know the revenue will be there to pay back the bond,” he said.
“Without bonding we would not be able to move forward and pay for these projects,” he said.
The projects that will use the funding include:
Valencia Road, Wilmot Road to Kolb Road
Valencia Road, Mark Road to Wade Road
Silverbell Road, Grant Road to Goret Road
Tangerine Road, La Cañada Drive to Dove Mountain
Grant Road, Stone Avenue to Park Avenue
Ina Road and Interstate 10 traffic interchange
Wilmot Road, north of Sahuarita Road
Houghton Road, Mary Ann Cleveland Way to I-10
22nd Street, Kino Parkway to Tucson Boulevard
The interest on loans of about $350 million was incorporated into the $2 billion plan, Moghimi said. In 2011, the board got a loan for $150 million, so a third bond for the remaining amount could be issued in future years.
The RTA board is considering authorizing staff to sell bonds at its meeting Thursday. Borrowing the money now while likely come at a favorable interest rate, and the RTA’s credit score is strong, Moghimi said.