Arizona Republic: Highway bill gives millions more to Arizona, paves way for Interstate 11

WASHINGTON – Arizona will receive an additional $380 million in federal highway and transit funds over the next five years under legislation passed by Congress on Thursday.

The funding is considered vital in providing state and local officials in Arizona the certainty to plan and execute large transportation projects. Besides the increased money, the legislation includes language by Sen. John McCain and Rep. Martha McSally that would pave the way for establishing the Sonoran Corridor. And it includes language Rep. Paul Gosar introduced as a separate bill in the House regarding the future Interstate 11.

McCain, who co-sponsored a Senate bill including the I-11 language, said the two provisions would help Arizona become a “key part of an international trade route that reaches all the way to the southern border.”

Arizona’s share of federal highway funds will increase by $344.2 million, or about 10 percent, to $3.9 billion over five years compared with what the old formula would have provided, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Transit funding will increase by $35.4 million to a total of $573 million during that period.

McCain voted for the bipartisan, five-year transportation funding, while fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Flake voted against the legislation.

In the House, McSally was the only Arizona Republican to support the measure. Arizona Democrats Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ruben Gallego and Kyrsten Sinema also voted for the bill, while Republicans Gosar, Matt Salmon, David Schweikert and Trent Franks voted against the legislation.

John Halikowski, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, said “having a five-year plan offers the long-term predictability we have been fighting for and helps ADOT better plan, build and sustain a transportation system that improves the quality of life in our growing state.”

Read more at AZCentral.com