The History of RTAC

​With the passage of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), it was estimated that there would be a 40% increase in federal funds provided to Arizona for its transportation program.  There was a concern by many in rural Arizona, that the distribution of this “new money” would not be equitable.  Those in rural Arizona began to have conversations regarding transportation issues and the necessity of rural Arizona to come together with a common voice to counter the political strength of the large metropolitan areas of the State.  To address these issues, the first annual Rural Transportation Summit was held in Casa Grande in 1999. 

During the Summit, a meeting of representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, Arizona Department of Transportation, Councils of Government and Metropolitan Planning Organizations occurred.  At this meeting, the Casa Grande Resolves were developed and agreed to by ADOT and the planning agencies of the State.  The guiding principles agreed to are:

  • Implement a new regionally based Transportation Planning and Programming Process;
  • Establish a Revenue Allocation Process with representation from ADOT, TMAs, MPOs, COGs and transit operators;
  • 50% of revenue should be allocated to rural Arizona, 37% to Maricopa County and 13% to Pima County; and;
  • Move ahead aggressively with the development of a Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan

Through on-going conversations in rural Arizona and at the Rural Transportation Summits, the Rural Transportation Advocacy Council (RTAC) was established in 2001.

The members of the first RTAC Executive Board were:

  • Council Member Robert “Bob” Rivera, Town of Thatcher (Chairman) Representing Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization
  • Supervisor Chip Davis, Yavapai County Representing Northern Arizona Council of Governments
  • Mayor Joe Donaldson, City of Flagstaff Representing Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Council Member Ross Hieb, City of Yuma Representing Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Council Member Jackie Jessie, City of Bullhead City Representing Western Arizona Council of Governments
  • Mayor Joe Sanchez, Town of Miami Representing Central Arizona Association of Governments

After the 2000 census, the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO) was established and the RTAC Executive Board formally voted to adopt CYMPO as a member of RTAC.    After the 2010 census, the Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization (LHMPO), the Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization (SVMPO) and the Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization (SCMPO) were established and the RTAC Executive Board formally voted to adopt them as members of RTAC.  The Central Arizona Association of Governments changed their name to the Central Arizona Governments and retained the “CAG” acronym.