By Patrick McNamara for Arizona Daily Star
A major highway plan for Southern Arizona could be on track to receive federal funding.
“This is a huge win for us that we were able to get this included as a high-priority corridor,” Rep. Martha McSally said last week.
McSally was referring to the proposed Sonoran Corridor, a highway that would connect interstates 10 and 19 south of Tucson International Airport.
McSally, along with the entire Arizona congressional delegation, managed to get the corridor included on the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, which is the federal government’s national highway funding bill.
While the bill has not yet traveled the entire legislative process, inclusion of the Sonoran Corridor makes the proposed highway eligible for federal funding.
The amount of money needed or available for the entire 16-mile highway has not been determined. Pima County officials have estimated the total cost could be hundreds of millions of dollars.
The county has included $30M in proposed funding on the November bond election for the first section of the corridor, to run west from I-10 at Rita Road to the recently completed Aerospace Parkway.
McSally said the Arizona delegation also included an expansion plan for SR-189 in Nogales in the transportation bill. The proposed expansion would increase the capacity of the state route from the Mariposa Port of Entry to I-19.
Another proposal would include I-19 in the National Highway Freight Network, enabling future funding for expansions and improvements.
The proposed I-11 system, which would run from Las Vegas through Phoenix and connect with I-19 south of Tucson, was also included on the bill as a high-priority project.
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