The Pima Association of Governments will stop funneling regional money that funded programs like Bike Fest and Cyclovia Tucson to the City of Tucson, but PAG officials say the programs that the city funded through the regional money will not be eliminated.
“The last couple of years there has been this plan of making a transition from a City of Tucson-run alternate modes program to a PAG-led regional alternate modes program,” said John Liosatos, a PAG transportation planning manager. “We would do the same things, but we would do them with a more regional focus.”
In the past, the money was included in PAG’s Transportation Improvements Program, which is a document that guides regional transportation funding.
Liosatos said the money will be transferred to the city for the next two fiscal years, but after that PAG will begin managing the programs. He said they haven’t yet determined what that program will look like.
“At this point we still haven’t determined what that regional program would be, but at a minimum it would continue to do the things the City of Tucson is doing,” Liosatos said. “However, we are hoping there would be some cost savings where we could actually increase and do more.”
PAG’s transportation planning director, Cherie Campbell, said PAG would ensure that the programs would focus more on the region than just the city of Tucson.
“Residents of the whole county — which is where the money came from in the first place — will be able to take advantage of all the activities and services, some of which the city did make available regionally, but some they did not,” Campbell said. “It will just make that the rule.”
“I am sure it could be better and more regional,” said City of Tucson bicycle and pedestrian program manager Tom Thivener. “It is already quite regional, but there are some things that the city specifically benefited from, such as bike corrals in the urban core and the first bike box.”
Thivener said his main concern is that the residents of Pima County continue to get the programs and services the money had traditionally funded.
“I told them I don’t care who manages it,” Thivener said. “I just told them I think the community cares about these programs. Ultimately, as long as the community stays involved and helps guide PAG to what they want, this area will still get a great product.”
Liosatos said PAG believes they can improve on what the city has been doing and make it better for everyone.
“The city has been great and they have always been a great partner,” Liosatos said. “We hope this is done is such a way that we build on what they are doing, we provide them with more support in the long term and it is a positive thing all the way around.”