The proposed amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015 expresses support for I-11 based on “significant enhancement for the western United States” for commerce, tourism, international trade, economic vitality and competitiveness on the global stage. In addition, the proposed amendment supports extending I-11 south to the international border with Mexico and north to the Canadian border.
The proposal lends support to an initiative led by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to study and construct I-11 as a critical economic link for Arizona and the Intermountain West region. Governor Brewer has been a strong advocate for the benefits of I-11, and has worked to focus attention on the proposed corridor.
“Not only will Interstate 11 create jobs in Arizona and Nevada, it also will integrate and increase the global competitiveness of the entire Southwest region,” said Governor Brewer. “I am very pleased to see strong bipartisan support at the local, state and federal level of this significant economic initiative.”
Halikowski expressed appreciation for the attention given to I-11 by lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
“As a corridor creating a stronger connection between Arizona and international markets, in addition to forging a more reliable, safer route between Phoenix and Las Vegas, Interstate 11 has benefits for the entire region,” he said. “ADOT appreciates the support of Senators McCain and Flake in highlighting the critical need for I-11 as a driver for continued economic expansion in the Intermountain West region. It is through leadership like this that we can continue looking forward, assessing our current and future needs and how to raise the funding to support those needs.”
In addition to Senators McCain and Flake, the amendment is supported by Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.).
The Arizona and Nevada departments of transportation have been working together since 2012 on the Interstate 11 and Intermountain West Corridor Study, which includes detailed corridor planning of an interstate link connecting the Phoenix and Las Vegas metropolitan areas, while extending the corridor through southern Arizona to Mexico and potentially north to Canada. Congress designated the future I-11 corridor between Phoenix and Las Vegas as part of the current surface transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).
The Interstate 11 and Intermountain West Corridor Study is a two‐year, multiphase, high‐level study examining the feasibility, benefits, opportunities and constraints of a proposed new interstate highway corridor. The study is expected to be completed this summer. Funding to construct this new corridor has not been identified.
Public meetings for the study are scheduled for June 25 from 6-8 p.m. in the Phoenix area and on June 26 from 4-7 p.m. in Las Vegas. A public meeting in Tucson was held on Wednesday. Through July 18, the public can also participate in a virtual meeting, reviewing the latest project information and providing feedback online. This month-long virtual meeting will be hosted on the project website, i11study.com.