Arizona Supreme Court to hear Pinal’s RTA case

SR 347 is among roadways impacted by the Vangilder case.


Arizona Supreme Court is taking up a challenge to the Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority in a case that could impact State Route 347.

Wednesday, the court granted a petition from attorneys for the Goldwater Institute, which opposes voter-approved Prop 417. The conservative thinktank has contested the measure since before the 2017 election.

Prop 417 is the funding mechanism for Prop 416, which outlined the Regional Transportation Plan, and was also approved by voters in 2017. County projects in the plan include improving SR 347 and creating an east-west corridor between Maricopa and Interstate 10 at Casa Grande.

Goldwater teamed up with the state Department of Revenue to oppose Prop 417, calling it an illegal tax. The 20-year, half-cent sales tax applies to purchases up $10,000. Goldwater attorney Timothy Sandefur argued the measure was unfair by, in effect, creating a special taxing category.

Last year, the Arizona Tax Court ruled in favor of Goldwater but was overruled by the Court of Appeals, which disagreed with Sandefur’s version of the facts.

The case, Harold Vanguilder et al. v. Pinal County et al., was filed at the Supreme Court in February.

Thursday, Sandefur posted in a Goldwater blog that a decision is expected from the court by spring.

According to the Supreme Court minutes, all new briefs must be filed by Nov. 5. A date has not yet been set for oral arguments.