Sales tax for roads coming up short

(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)
(Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)

The 0.5% sales tax that funds transportation projects in Maricopa county since 1985 is on track to come up a few billion dollars short by the time it expires in 2025.  The funds are used to pay for all manner of projects including local street improvements, bus pullouts (to make car travel faster), transit including bus and light rail; by most of all and by far the most dollars are spent building highways. From a sales tax. There are those who fancy that motorists are “paying their own way”, through from example fuel taxes and VLT (vehicle license tax) but that’s just not so. These funds have been shrinking for a variety of reasons not the least of which is the major component, fuel tax, has not increased in over over twenty years.

Fuel taxes, federal and Arizona state are levied on a per gallon basis; so each year the relative amount paid by motorists shrinks while the amount paid in sales taxes rises (due to rising prices). There is no sales tax on fuel in Arizona.

For more see: azcentral news story; and road-taxes for more background on funding.

City of Phoenix / T2000

So there’s an entirely different sales tax, specific to the City of Phoenix of 0.4% that was (voted in via ballot prop, IIRC) and runs for twenty years, from 2000 to 2020; the city people refer to as the “T2000” tax. As of early 2015 there are/were a series of public meetings via something called the Citizens Committee on the Future of Phoenix Transportation (a city gov’t appointed thing). Interesting facts extracted from the 1/12/2015 packet; a table listing the revenue, and per capita revenue since 2000. E.g. In FY2013-14, the revenue was $111,067,552 for a population of 1,505,070; which is $73.80 per capita. This yields, by arithmetic, an average salestaxable spending per capita of $18,450 (does that sound right?).