Five years in, RTA progress scrutinized

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- People gathered at La Cocina in downtown Tucson to celebrate the RTA's accomplishments over the past five years. 

In the past five years the RTA has completed more than 400 road, public transit, pedestrian and bicycle projects.   Another three major road projects are expected to wrap up this year.

But some Tucsonans say it's not good enough.

"The potholes, they're everywhere," said Victoria McKean.

"Traffic is a big issue," said Robert Carillo.

The maintenance problems are causing some to question what the RTA's doing with their money.

In 2006 voters approved a .5¢ sales tax that's supposed to raise $2.1 billion for projects over the next 20 years.

"I'd be okay paying more taxes if it was fixing," said Victoria McKean.

But the RTA says it can't use the money to fix up problems like potholes, unless they're located in one of their planned roadway projects.

"Unfortunately when we into this we didn't anticipate we'd be struggling with our highway user revenue funds and the funds that have been used to do maintenance," said James DeGrood from the Regional Transportation Authority.

In the meantime, the RTA says it's made good on its promises from the improvement plan drafted five years ago.

"What we promised to do with Sun Tran is add express bus services, we promised to run the buses later in the evening and on weekends and expanding routes and we're doing all of that," said DeGrood.

Some Tucsonans agree.

"As long as they're actively moving ahead and progressing I see no problems," said Alan Sobel.

While others are still waiting to see how that .5¢ sales tax increase will impact them for the better.

"They're not fixing the basic roads, so that's a little frustrating to me," said Victoria McKean.

As for future RTA plans, right now, there are three major roadways that should get done some time this year.

But leaders say they're not sure whether or not that $2.1 billion will be enough to make good on some of their long term promises.