Frequently Asked Questions about MainStreet
1. What is the MainStreet Business Assistance Program's mission?
MainStreet's mission is to provide outreach and consulting services to businesses located in RTA-related transportation improvement zones, enabling them to sustain their business and make choices that will enhance their ability to succeed.
2. Who is eligible to receive these services?
All businesses located within a quarter mile of the transportation improvement zone on RTA-funded projects are eligible. Businesses outside this zone may contact us for special considerations if they believe they will be impacted.
3. What if I am in a non-RTA transportation project area?
You may be eligible for services for projects that are not designated in the RTA plan of May 16, 2006, if a funding source can be identified.
4. How much will these services cost me?
Services are free to all businesses within a quarter mile of the designated project area.
5. How might a transportation improvement project affect my business?
Not all businesses are impacted negatively or equally. Many variables and factors determine the impact on a business. The most notable impact is the potential loss of revenue, which can jeopardize a company's cash flow, operation and functionality, quickly putting them out of business. Nationally, losses of revenue due to transportation construction projects can run up to 50 percent, with typical averages in the 20-25 percent range.
6. What are some typical business requests and needs?
- Specific project information
- Project considerations
- Issue resolution
- Help with declining revenues
- Access & signage
- Timing considerations
- How to prepare
- Community resources
- Feedback opportunities
7. What are the benefits of this type of assistance program?
As more and more communities recognized that small businesses were at risk from difficulties that arise during transportation improvement project construction, they began developing construction mitigation/business assistance programs. Some benefits include:
- Experience in assisting businesses through the challenges of a transportation improvement project
- Providing best practice tools and services
- Enhancing business opportunities during planning, design and construction phases
- Providing triage services for the businesses, project team and contractor
- Increasing communication to minimize project misinformation and "street rumors'
- Identifying business growth opportunities
- Saving jobs by minimizing business closures
- Developing stronger positive government/private sector relationships based upon trust, respect, availability, tangible solutions and results
8. How will I know if I need or can benefit from business assistance?
Call our MainStreet hotline at 520.838.4352 or discuss directly with your MainStreet business outreach liaison. Our team has over 120 years of combined direct experience in what to expect during a transportation improvement project, including how it could affect you and how we can help you get through it.
9. What services does MainStreet provide?
MainStreet consultants have created nearly 1,500 customized consulting deliverables for their clients to help minimize transportation improvement project impacts on their businesses and to improve the overall health of their businesses.
10. What services are not provided?
The MainStreet program does not provide services in the following areas:
- Direct financial compensation is not allowed under the Arizona State Gift clause.
- Tax deferment or exemptions: All taxes, including property, sales, income and state, must continue to be paid. If you own your property, we encourage you to apply for a Pima County property tax assessment reduction with the Pima County Assessor during construction.
- Property appraisal, acquisition or relocation: These services are provided under the jurisdiction's real estate right-of-way programs and departments.
- Agent representation on behalf of the business
- Legal services
- Direct costs of advertising: Marketing and promotional consulting services are available, but offsetting or covering the actual cost of individualized advertising is not permitted.
11. Who are typical participants?
Participants of the MainStreet program typically are small business owners and managers, commercial property owners, property management companies, non-profit entities and business associations. The anticipated number of business clients that will be engaged by the MainStreet team over the 20-year RTA plan is 10,000+. MainStreet has engaged with 7,625+ businesses, representing 85,000+ employees, in the first 13 years of the RTA plan.
12. Who are the MainStreet consultants?
The MainStreet consulting team is assembled from a pool of small business consultants These independent contractors possess a total of 120 years of construction mitigation experience and 230+ years of business consulting knowledge. MainStreet promotes and fosters a collaborative, communication-focused, results-oriented consulting environment with a primary focus of delivering quality services to the businesses.
13. What is involved in the consultation process?
A private-sector contracted consultant will meet with you to discuss your anticipated business needs. For many businesses, those needs may be as simple as receiving timely project updates, traffic control plans and other project-related communications. For others, needs include detailed and tailored construction mitigation planning. Some businesses may wish to take advantage of the complimentary MainStreet consulting services.
14. How much time can the consultant spend working with me during the consultation process?
Every business and project is unique. Many factors go into determining exactly how a business may most benefit from our program, and the amount of consulting time a business may require. Typically, individual business consulting hours fall within 35-60 hours. MainStreet developed a software program that objectively determines consulting hour allocation by analyzing different criteria. These criteria include:
- Potential construction impacts related to the project's size, scope, schedule, duration, nature of closure and proximity to the business
- Type of business: retail, hospitality, personal and professional services, manufacturing, non-profit, trades, etc.
- Size and nature of business: destination, convenience,
- competitors and substitute products/services
- Business access: before, during and after construction
- Longevity at current location: start-up, established, franchise, multiple locations
- Acquisition or relocation requirements by the municipality
15. Will sensitive business information remain confidential?
Yes, only basic contact information is included in our outreach liaison database. Information pertaining to your specific business and its operations will be given at your discretion with confidentiality maintained between you and the independent MainStreet consultant via a signed confidentiality agreement.
16. What if we are required to relocate because of the project?
All property appraisals, acquisitions and/or relocations services are provided under the municipal real estate and right-of-way departments. We understand that if you are required to relocate as part of a municipality's project plan, this can have a different set of impacts on your business. MainStreet offers additional business consulting services both pre- and post- relocation in these special cases.
17. What results can be expected?
In general, the better prepared a business is before a transportation improvement project, the greater the chance for success. MainStreet can provide the tools and services that have historically worked. However, the level of success that a business experiences depends on many factors, including working with an independent MainStreet consultant, maintaining a "can do" attitude and being determined to plan and implement a variety of mitigation strategies. It is better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to getting through transportation improvement project impacts.
18. Why do you want my email address?
Providing your email address is optional. However, email has proven to be the quickest, most effective and least costly method to disseminate timely project information. We ask for email addresses because the municipalities and MainStreet use email to provide project updates and other types of communication in an attempt to better serve the business community.
19. How engaged has the MainStreet program been with the business community?
The MainStreet Program was initiated in the fall of 2007. Approximately 95 percent of the program time has been spent directly working with businesses. Since that time, MainStreet has:
- Provided outreach to 7,625+ businesses on 60+ regional projects to date
- Made available a consistent face-to-face point of contact for businesses
- Logged 48,150+ business visits from our business outreach liaisons
- Facilitated follow-up and resolution on thousands of specific business/project questions and concerns during planning, design and construction phases
- Provided confidential consulting services to 1,200+ companies, producing nearly 1,500 deliverables to affected businesses at no cost to them
- Contacted 1,200+ businesses per month via construction e-mail updates.
20. How do I know that MainStreet is accountable and that my tax dollars are going to good use in this program?
MainStreet is a required program element within the 20-year RTA plan. MainStreet, RTA and municipalities receive appreciative feedback regularly in the form of letters, cards, notes, phone calls, etc., from businesses who have worked with our team.
To monitor our program 's success, we perform continual performance tracking through a direct business client feedback process. Performance rankings in five categories of service are:
- 81.4% Excellent
- 16.5% Good
- 1.9% Fair
- 0.2% Poor
MainStreet conducts follow-up on-site interviews, focus groups and internal systems reviews along with standard RTA audits from the state. MainStreet also provides regular updates to the following:
- The public at large
- Project teams
- Transportation departments
- Municipalities and jurisdictional agencies
- Technical Management Committee
- Pima Association of Governments
- RTA Management Team
- Citizens Accountability for Regional Transportation (CART) Committee
- RTA Board
21. What can I do next?
To learn more about the program or to begin working with the MainStreet Business Assistance team, please call 520.838.4352. We are here to help you!