PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate has passed legislation that appropriates another $360 million to widen a troubling stretch of Interstate 10 between Chandler and Casa Grande.
This stretch of I-10 has been the site of several deadly crashes over the years and commuters have repeatedly asked for the freeway to have an additional lane added to relieve traffic congestion.
Former Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill last year that allocated $400 million for the long-awaited infrastructure project.
But a lack of expected federal funds has forced state lawmakers to pull more money from the general fund to ensure the project is completed.
Senate Bill 1065 would allocate $360 million to the Arizona Department of Transportation for widening this 26-mile stretch of the freeway.
The Senate voted 27-0 on Tuesday to pass SB1065 and send it through the Arizona Legislature for further review. Three senators did not vote on the bill.
Local officials discovered earlier this year that the federal government wouldn't immediately match Arizona's funds to expand I-10. Federal agencies say the number of requests they got for infrastructure grants far surpassed the amount of funding available.
The federal government said it vetted grant requests by evaluating a project's safety, economic benefits, environmental sustainability, innovation, and cost-effectiveness.
The total cost of widening this section of I-10 has been estimated to be $1 billion.
But Arizona's elected officials in Congress have said they'll keep advocating for financial support from the federal level to complete the expensive project.
“Arizonans rely on the I-10 to connect them to jobs, educational opportunities, and their families, which is why improving and expanding this highway is still a top priority for me," U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly said in a statement earlier this year. "I won’t stop working alongside state and local leaders to ensure that Arizona earns the funding it needs to start on this critical project as soon as possible.”
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