Hello all,

By a vote of 55-1, yesterday, the House passed SB1239, the Senator TJ Shope bill that will appropriate $400 million to complete the widening of I-10 to three lanes in each direction between Phoenix and Tucson. The last remaining segment between Casa Grande and Chandler is estimated to cost roughly $1 billion. Unlike other transportation projects currently held up in the budget negotiations, enacting the I-10 funding quickly was necessitated by ADOT's pursuit of a $300 million federal MEGA grant for the project. The application is due on May 23rd and the commitment of the additional state revenue will greatly enhance the competitiveness of the application. While the I-10 project should be very competitive, available funding is limited to $1 billion nationwide this year. Based on the program requirements, only 2-6 projects will be awarded. Securing this additional grant funding will be a tremendous funding boost not only for this project but for the state's entire transportation construction program. If awarded, that $300 million in additional funding would more than double what Arizona is projected to receive in federal highway funding this year. The bill has now passed both legislative chambers and has been delivered to the Governor. As the funding was part of his January budget proposal, his quick signature is highly anticipated.

While it does not appear that enough votes have been secured to pass a budget yet, it is highly anticipated that the budget will include funding for additional transportation projects including proposals for Greater Arizona put forward by RTAC. Due to federal and state responses to COVID and an economy that has continued to grow strongly despite very dire forecasts, the State finds itself with a funding balance of over $5 billion. Roughly $2.8 billion is considered one-time in natue and is the pot of money being considered for further transportation projects.

In addition to the potential for further state funding, implementation and the further distribution of federal funding triggered by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), continues with the roll out of additional new programs expected this month.

Attached please find an excellent implementation update presentation authored by FHwA Arizona Division Administrator Karla Petty and FTA Region 9 Administrator Ray Tellis that was provided at last month's Arizona Transit Association's annual conference.

Also, a "playbook" for implementing the new federal law in Rural America authored by the White House is attached.

Kevin Adam,
Legislative Liaison
Rural Transportation Advocacy Council