State auditors determined the Regional Transportation Authority is meeting its statutory and fiduciary responsibilities to voters after the state completed its mandatory 15-year performance review of the RTA.
The team of experts contracted by the Arizona Auditor General for this review, from Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting Inc., stated that “RTA plan projects were generally completed as planned and realized many accomplishments. Specifically, of the 51 RTA plan projects envisioned in 2006, 45 improvements—or 88 percent—were completed or in progress as of June 30, 2021. The majority of remaining projects are scheduled to be started within the RTA plan timeframe as promised.”
State lawmakers built the performance audit requirements into the legislation that enabled the RTA’s creation. The audits are required at the 10th and 15th years of the program. A performance audit is distinct from a strictly financial audit, in that it reviews the overall performance toward stated goals in addition to a financial review.
The audit team looked at “past and planned expenditures of the RTA plan and system performance in relieving congestion and improving mobility looking at roadway, safety, environmental and economic vitality, and transit projects as funded through RTA plan revenues.”
RTA Board Chair Peter Yucupicio, Chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, lauded the audit findings.
“The most important responsibilities of public servants are fulfilling our fiduciary commitments to the public and delivering on promises made to the voters. The RTA has proven time and time again that it is a well-managed and trusted organization,” Yucupicio said.
The audit, which showed no findings, included recommendations to the RTA to ensure that remaining projects are completed on time. Generally, the audit recommends the RTA:
- requires member jurisdictions to submit complete capital project cost estimate updates and actual expenditure data (regional and local sources) on an annual or as-needed basis with the RTA monitoring and summarizing the revised cost estimates in addition to all available funding sources to pay for project costs to assist with gap analysis.
- works with local jurisdictions to secure needed non-RTA funding for RTA plan projects before and after the end of the RTA plan.
“We agree with the recommendations of the auditors,” said RTA Executive Director Farhad Moghimi. “This audit process further validates the value that the RTA brings to regional collaboration to meet voter expectations.”
The RTA is an independent special-taxing authority established in Pima County under state law. RTA sales tax revenues collected are restricted for use on voter-approved project scopes and eligible expenses as outlined in the RTA plan.
The audit team reaffirmed that the local entities managing the design and construction of the RTA plan projects under intergovernmental agreements with the RTA are responsible for providing local funding for project costs over the amount made available in the RTA agreements to complete the remaining RTA projects.
The full report can be found here: RTA 15-year performance audit.