CASA GRANDE — The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 virus may impact funding for the widening of Interstate 10 between Casa Grande and Chandler.
The Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth got an update on the widening project and a project to replace the I-10 bridges over the Gila River at a virtual annual meeting on Thursday.
Eric Anderson from the Maricopa Association of Governments told the alliance that state and federal revenues are down due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. The state, the federal government and the Arizona Department of Transportation are trying to figure out how much revenue each of them will be bringing in.
ADOT is already looking at the possibility of putting off $700 million in new projects to the next year, he said. And the $50 million that was pledged for the I-10 project may no longer be available.
The I-10 widening project was expected to cost around $500 to $600 million.
The scoping process for both projects has been completed and the state is starting to move into figuring out what alternatives are available for each project, Anderson said. Those alternatives are expected to be presented to the public in the fall with possible public hearings on the projects in the spring of 2021.
The state may see some relief from the Invest in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act, which was recently proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives, he said. However, Anderson didn’t think this particular act would move very far in Congress with the upcoming November elections looming and the need to find funding for other COVID-19 laws such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
This makes the group’s I-10 Widening Alliance team’s advocacy work to find funding for the projects even more important, said Tom Dorn, from Dorn Policy Group.