PHOENIX – A proposed freeway from Las Vegas to Nogales, Arizona, through Pinal County has gotten a bipartisan boost from members of Arizona’s Congressional delegation.
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., introduced a bill Wednesday to accelerate the development of Interstate 11 in Arizona.
Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland and Maricopa Mayor Christian Price wrote letters of recommendation for the bill.
The legislation would provide new federal assistance to complete the required Tier II Environmental Impact Study for segments of the project, according to McSally’s office.
“Cross-border and interstate commerce are a major driver for job creation in Arizona. In order to keep up with our state’s rapid growth, we must modernize our infrastructure. Currently, Phoenix and Las Vegas are the only two major cities in America not connected by a highway,” McSally said in a statement. “When this project is completed, the I-11 corridor will provide a direct route from our southern border to Phoenix (and then) to Las Vegas.
McSally said she is pleased to work with fellow Arizona Democrats Sinema and Stanton to ensure the project is completed in a timely manner in order to meet the growing need for quality infrastructure in the state.
“We’re working together on this bipartisan bill to advance a project that could create enormous economic potential in our state,” Stanton said. “I-11 would open up a new transportation corridor in Arizona, leading to new jobs and increased trade with our partners in Mexico and Canada. I’m encouraged by this next step forward to accelerate I-11.”
McSally said in a press release that I-11 offers a unique opportunity to stimulate job growth not only in the important areas of tourism and travel, but in other major industry sectors such as health care, aerospace, logistics, distribution, and technology. These industries need a dependable, reliable and efficient transportation corridor to be successful. Another major benefit of I-11 will be reduced traffic congestion in key areas.
“In addition to I-11 being vital to the overall economic success of our region, this project will bolster the nation’s options for additional trade routes and trading opportunities with Mexico and Canada. I-11 would be a vital segment to the CANAMEX Corridor, as this project has the potential to connect the U.S. to emerging economies in Latin America,” McSally said.
At the completion of I-11, the region is estimated to generate $24 billion in economic impact and approximately 24,000 jobs.
Multiple state and Pinal County leaders expressed their support for the bill in letters.
Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland wrote: “On behalf of the City of Casa Grande and my fellow AZ Cities, I offer our thanks and express our full support for the legislation drafted to advance the development of Interstate 11 and bring the resources of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) into the process at such a critical time.”
Maricopa Mayor Christian Price and Pinal County Supervisor for District 4 Anthony Smith wrote: “On behalf of the Pinal County I-11 Coalition, we express our support of the legislation to advance the development of Interstate 11. We are pleased that the legislation includes a requirement that the funds provided to the state for Interstate 11 are supplemental to any funds routinely allocated by the United States Department of Transportation to our regional metropolitan planning organizations.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey wrote: “I am writing in support of your proposed legislation to provide additional technical and financial assistance to advance one of those key routes, Interstate 11. Interstate 11 will be a significant improvement to Arizona’s system of high-priority, high-capacity, access-controlled transportation corridors in the state. Specifically, Interstate 11 will increase capacity for trade and commerce with Mexico and Canada throughout the Intermountain West, and is expected to relieve congestion in downtown Phoenix.”
Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski wrote: “I am writing to express my appreciation for your efforts to acquire additional technical and financial assistance for transportation infrastructure projects in Arizona. Any additional resources that state receives will be helpful in building out Arizona’s transportation infrastructure.”