Local Opinion: PAG Regional Council President Dispels Funding Misinformation | Local editorials and opinion

Special Tom Murphy for the Arizona Daily Star

Here is the opinion and analysis of the mayor of Sahuarita, Tom Murphy, who is also president of the regional board of the Pima Association of Governments:

When someone shares incorrect information intended to mislead the public, their actions can have a cost. The cost can be a loss of trust, a failed partnership or damaged relationships.

The Pima Association of Governments Regional Council and the Regional Transportation Authority Board are here to serve all of our members and the public. We are also focused on achieving our mission as a federally designated metropolitan planning organization and a state-established political subdivision, respectively.

Year after year, the PAG and RTA, led by our governing bodies, fulfill their federal and state planning and fiduciary responsibilities. We are proud of these accomplishments and the regional benefits we provide through the relationships we have built over the years.

Our operational, procedural and professional actions are called into question. Without fail, we have responded with answers to these questions over the course of several months or more, and yet the factual information provided has not been acknowledged or acknowledged.

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Engaging in “blame games” is counterproductive and inflammatory. Upon request, we continue to provide factual material to the media. This same information about our regional responsibilities and actions as regional governing bodies is available to you. We want to fully educate the public with accurate information.

A key budget element of the RTA that the public should understand is that although the RTA collected less than expected revenue following the Great Recession of 2008, the RTA Board directed that federal and state dollars, dedicated to the region, are applied to complete the named route. projects to the amount of the ballot that voters approved and were promised. This guideline has been endorsed by all RTA member agencies.

The RTA Board, including all member jurisdictions, also recently approved the RTA’s final five-year budget in the amount approved by voters for the named projects. With this action, there is no RTA budget deficit on the projects.

In other words, the RTA has honored its fiscal commitment to voters. It is policy established early on by the RTA Board of Directors that the party responsible for costs exceeding the amount of RTA tax identified by ballot, or budget, is the primary jurisdiction for this named project, a project that the jurisdiction recommended to be part of the RTA plan during its development.

However, the RTA Board may consider offering additional funds, as available, to jurisdictions for eligible costs above the amount voted but within the scope of the initial named project that may be required to complete the project. . This offer can only be made following the annual budgeting process after the RTA has seen how revenues work or what additional regional funding may be available.

Although we all face difficult issues, we are here to support each other. However, our statutory and fiduciary responsibility comes first. A member agency cannot and should not issue unreasonable ultimatums. We passed a Unity Resolution a few years ago with the understanding that what is good for the region raises the tide for each of us instead of working outside our legal boundaries to meet parish demands.

We welcome constructive questions and dialogue and are happy to provide answers. At the same time, we will continue to defend false, accusatory and defamatory statements against our governing bodies and staff.

Our mission, after all, is to solve regional problems through cooperative efforts and pooled resources and to provide accurate and relevant data that leads to effective regional planning decisions. Our goal is to achieve consensus on all regional issues, demonstrating the importance of our role as regional leaders to serve you all.

In conclusion, I formally invite local and regional leaders to bring out the best in everyone in the future and work respectfully on the regional issues we are trying to solve to improve our mobility, sustainability and livability.

The mayor of Sahuarita, Tom Murphy, is president of the regional board of the Pima Association of Governments.

Elna M. Lemons