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10 things you should know about the 2020 Census*

1. Everyone who lives in the United States is required to complete the census every 10 years to determine population by state.

2. An accurate population count determines how many seats each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives, and congressional and state legislative district boundaries are redrawn based on population shifts.

3. Census data determine how more than $675 billion in federal dollars are distributed among states for critical state, regional and local programs, from transportation to school lunch programs.

4. Every person in a household should be counted, including babies and young children. Each person is counted once.

5. If you live in two states, you should count yourself in the state where you live at least six months and one day.

6. If you are a college student, you should count yourself in the state where you attend college since you reside there for at least six months and one day.

7. The 2020 Census can be completed online, and forms will be mobile phone accessible.

8. By law, personal information cannot be shared with immigration enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies or to determine eligibility of government benefits. Answers can only be used to produce statistics.

9. Census data is used by businesses, local governments, real estate developers and residents to make important decisions that affect job creation, safety and overall quality of life.

10. The 2020 Census forms should be completed and submitted by April 1, 2020. Census officials will only knock on doors of people who have not completed their forms by then.

*Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Pima Association of Governments is conducting a regional awareness campaign for the 2020 Census. Census day is April 1, 2020. For more information about the census, please visit

John Vidaurri

City Manager, South Tucson

Served in this capacity since: March 2019

Professional background: Public administration/City management

Civic/Community Involvement: Member Veterans of Foreign Wars

Region's most pressing issue in your opinion: Infrastructure and water

Region's best opportunity for economic success: Education

What do you like best about what is currently happening at the regional level? 208 Water Quality Management Plan Update, Sonoran Corridor Study, I-11 Route Study

Why is regional collaboration important to you? It promotes unified planning to address growth, development/redevelopment, and sustainability issues.

What's your No. 1 priority in your current role? Redevelop the City of South Tucson while striving to retain the community's culture and heritage.

Personal trivia: I like to pass the time working on and improving the performance of my 1999 Ford Mustang.

Regional Council OKs 5-year transportation program

Pima Association of Governments' Regional Council approved the fiscal year 2020-2024 Transportation Improvement Program at its May 23 meeting.

The TIP identifies priorities for federal, state and local roadways, transit or bus services, aviation projects, and programs such as ride sharing, vanpooling or bicycle and pedestrian safety programs and projects. The TIP also includes projects funded through the Regional Transportation Authority plan.

The programmed improvements total $1.2 billion over the next 5 years. The next update will be in 2021.


Tangerine Road project team receives regional partnering award

Pima Association of Governments and the Regional Transportation Authority presented the 2019 Timothy M. Ahrens Partnering Award to the Town of Marana, Town of Oro Valley and Pima County on May 23 during the monthly meetings of the PAG Regional Council and RTA Board.

The award was presented for their partnership on the Tangerine Road corridor project, one of 35 roadway projects in the Regional Transportation Authority plan. Multiple partners were involved in the project including the Tangerine Corridor Constructors team of Borderland Construction Co. Inc. and Granite Construction Inc.; Psomas, Kittelson and Associates, and Kaneen Communications.

The partnering award was established in 2013 to recognize the spirit of collaboration and partnering as exemplified by the late Timothy M. Ahrens. Mr. Ahrens was the RTA manager during development of the $2.1 billion, 20-year RTA plan. He managed the RTA's 2005 citizens' advisory committee and gave hundreds of presentations during the public outreach phase before the RTA plan was approved by Pima County voters on May 16, 2006.

Success of the project is demonstrated in the following areas: achieving a common goal, embracing regional stakeholders, resolving conflict, improving communication on the project with all audiences, incorporating team-building activities, delivery of a quality product, finding innovative funding solutions, and perpetuating the spirit of cooperation.

The $50.8 million widening project to four lanes was completed 23 days ahead of schedule and on budget. The project included four signalized intersections, a new multi-use path, 32,000 feet of joint utility trench, 42 cross drainage structures to enable all-weather access, five underground wildlife crossings and significant native plant preservation and landscaping.

Although the county and towns had their own concepts for how the corridor should be developed, in the spirit of cooperation they designated one lead agency and worked together to develop a project that would provide the most value to the public. The project application noted that this project has enhanced development opportunities, enabled safe and efficient all-weather access, provided critical wildlife linkages and provided excellent facilities to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.

Ina goes over and above

Now that the Interstate 10 and Ina Road traffic interchange is open, we can include it in our commuting plans again. No more detours. And no more waiting for trains. The new Ina Road goes over the railroad tracks and freeway, making it a smoother, more efficient and safer ride for drivers. It was truly a successful joint effort between the Regioanl Transportation Authority, Town of Marana and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), each doing their part to deliver a comprehensive improvement to the public.

In addition to the advantages for motorists, even pedestrians and cyclists will benefit from the improvements. Sidewalks have been added between Silverbell Road and I-10 along Ina Road, an area that lacked sidewalks before. Trail users will go under Ina Road to access The Loop.

The RTA voter-approved project includes new frontage roads and ramps on all sides of the freeway. ADOT South Central District Engineer Rod Lane says, "For regional mobility, this project improves safety on I-10 by eliminating traffic backups onto the off ramps and mainline I-10." The project also includes additional lanes on I-10 and capacity improvements on Ina Road to reduce congestion. At the same time, crews widened Ina Road west of the freeway and replaced the bridge over the Santa Cruz River with two bridges.

"This has been a great project to be a part of," Lane notes. "I have to credit a lot of the success to the great sense of teamwork. Everyone has worked so well together, from the Town of Marana and PAG/RTA on the funding side, to Sundt-Kiewitt on the construction side. A lot of people have been rowing in the same direction to pull this project off. And I think everyone who's played a part should be extremely proud of their role."

The project brought Ina Road businesses together, especially toward the end of construction. Businesses organized a weekend-long block party along Ina Road last month to celebrate completion of the project. Businesses welcomed the community with sales, giveaways and a cake-cutting ceremony.

In the years leading up to construction, the RTA's MainStreet Business Assistance Program worked to prepare Ina Road businesses for what was to come. Bisbee Breakfast Club owner Terry Kyte says MainStreet helped his team focus on the fundamentals. "We focused on the health of our business and what we could do for current customers to give them a reason to come back." MainStreet business consultants conducted more than 3,200 outreach and consulting visits along the Ina Road corridor during the past five years.

Houghton Road bridge bats are back

The new twin bridges on Houghton Road over the Union Pacific railroad tracks are getting a lot of commuter action. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are taking advantage of the new structures to make their way into and out of the Tucson metropolitan area.

The Houghton Road corridor improvements are funded as part of the Regional Transportation Authority's voter-approved plan. And while the three-lane bridges with multi-use paths and bike lanes are pretty spectacular, what's under the bridges is equally impressive: new homes for resident bats.

Biologists attached special bat boxes to the new bridges to replace roosting habitat that was removed when the old bridges were torn down. The new bat boxes were installed to entice the bats to return to the area to roost. EcoPlan Associates Environmental Planner Ron van Ommeren feels confident about the attractiveness of the new homes after a recent bat count at the site. "We are optimistic about the future of the bat population at the bridge. Use of the boxes has steadily increased since the early part of the year, and though current use is primarily by Mexican free-tailed bats, we also recorded use by pallid bats and cave myotis on previous visits." The EcoPlan team counted close to 1,000 bats on the most recent visit, and the number of bats in the boxes underneath the north side of the bridge roughly doubled since the previous count.

The Houghton Road bridge project demonstrates that we can make needed improvements and meet the needs of the mammals who depend on the structures. Van Ommeren says, "The cost of bat boxes represents a small fraction of cost of the new structures or improvements, and replacement of habitat is critically important in light of loss of natural and constructed (e.g., old bridges, culverts, etc.) roosting habitat."

Bats are an important part of the ecosystem. Environmental Planner Mike Dawson says the species at Houghton Road Bridge are insectivores, consuming up to half their body weight in insects each night. "In turn, the bats often become prey for raptors. All part of the cycle that needs to stay in balance." Dawson, van Ommeren and the rest of the team will continue to monitor the Houghton Road bridge boxes and others across the region. They hope to gain valuable information about use by different species and suitability of the structures for roosting and breeding.

The new-and-improved Houghton Road bridges provide a smoother and safer ride for drivers who are just passing through. Some of our tiniest residents stop and make themselves at home.


RTA Project Status     RTA Financial Status  
Through April 30, 2019     Through April 30, 2019  
Projects in Design 59   Collections $919.2M
Under Construction/Implementation 64   Funds Committed $1.3B
Total Number Completed 844   Funds Expended $1.2B
      Fund Balance $95.2M


Stay informed!

The Regional Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee is in the process of developing a new 20-year RTA plan. To keep informed of plan development updates, please click here or sign up for email notices by texting us: Type 22828 in the Recipient field and rtanews in the Enter Message field.

The next RTA Citizens Advisory Committee meeting will be at noon, July 8, 2019, at Pima Association of Governments, 1 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 401, Tucson.

To view the new RTA Our Mobility brochure, please click here and to view updates on RTA projects, please click here.


©Pima Association of Governments | 1 E Broadway Blvd, Suite 401, Tucson, AZ 85701 | Telephone (520) 792-1093, FAX (520) 620-6981