Prop. 469 to fund road improvements, including SR 347, headed for defeat

Proposition 469 was a half-cent sales tax to fund Pinal County transportation, including widening State Route 347. With its failure in November, our readers suggested alternatives to improve travel on the busy highway

Updated at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2022.

Pinal County voters, who have been clamoring for better transportation, specifically widening and improving State Route 347, apparently are not putting their votes where their mouth is.

In election returns Wednesday morning from Pinal County Elections Department, Prop. 469 was going down to defeat, 51.3% to 48.7 % with about 109,000 votes counted.

Prop. 469 is a retooled version of Props. 416 and 417, the half-cent sales tax for transportation that passed in 2017, only to have the funding mechanism ruled unconstitutional by the Arizona Supreme Court this year after a challenge by the conservative Goldwater Institute from the Valley.

Prop. 469 would reauthorize a half-cent sales tax to pay for a long list of transportation needs, including improvements to State Route 347 in and out of Maricopa.

New roads and freeways would enable first responders to reach destinations faster, according to supporters, who include Maricopa Mayor Nancy Smith, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, Vice Mayor Vincent Manfredi and former Mayor Christian Price.

The proposition also would fund the 21-mile East-West Corridor from Maricopa, across northern Casa Grande, to Interstate 10.

The plan covers roads, highways and bridges designed to benefit every part of Pinal County.

About $87 million was collected before the Supreme Court ruled the previous tax unconstitutional. The money since has been held by the Arizona Department of Revenue.

On Nov. 1, the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority approved a plan to refund that money.

Under the plan, businesses and entities that paid the taxes to the state would have the option of requesting refunds from the Department of Revenue and then donating that money to a Central Arizona Governments fund for capital-improvement transportation projects and other programs specifically in Pinal County.

The taxpaying entities would avoid tax consequences by donating the funds to CAG, a non-profit 501(3)(c). The plan also would allow tax refunds to best satisfy the original transportation-project purpose of the tax while keeping the money in Pinal County.

It would also allow the Pinal Regional Transportation Authority to assist the Department of Revenue in its efforts to refund the tax money.

Please check back. This story will be updated as the latest returns are released.

Editor’s note: Vincent Manfredi is an owner of InMaricopa.