With more than 9,000 ballots still to be tallied from Tuesday’s election, two questions about county transportation were in a tight battle but leaning toward approval.
The election was on a mail-in ballot. The Pinal County Elections Department stopped counting for the night at 7:49 p.m.
The yes votes for Pinal County’s Proposition 416, the plan for the Regional Transportation Authority, had 56 percent of the vote. Maricopa and Ak-Chin residents are showing generally strong support.
“It’s not a surprise to me at all, but what that tells me is that the county as a whole absolutely agrees that we need better transportation access in and out of our county and all the transportation accesses and proposed roadways throughout Pinal County need to be addressed,” RTA advocate Edward Farrell said. “That’s why 416 passed with overwhelming votes.”
Maricopa’s neighbors to the west in Hidden Valley and Thunderbird Farms are overwhelming against the plan for roadway improvements and more connectivity, based on the early tallies.
Prop 417, which would provide a half-cent sales tax to fund the RTA, was in a virtual tie, pros and cons separated by fewer than 200 votes.
“I get it,” Farrell said. “Nobody likes taxes and nobody likes a tax increase. I don’t either. I can’t stand a tax increase. Who does? Nobody does. But with that said, if we don’t pay attention to what we need in the future of our county, then we’re just sticking our head in the sand.
“We need to make sure the vote propositions get passed and move forward to make Pinal County continue to grow as a whole and the only way we are going to get Pinal County to grow as a whole is to get these transportation accesses and thorough ways completed throughout Pinal County because what that will do is that will create economic development.”
Also on the ballot locally was Maricopa Domestic Water Improvement District’s bid to join with the Saddleback Vista DWID and Stanfield School’s attempt for a budget override.