Governor Jan Brewer today celebrated the inclusion in the federal Transportation Bill of the Interstate 11 corridor, a concept she has aggressively pursued to better link Arizona to national and international trade routes.
Congressional language in the Transportation Bill, expected to be approved later this week, designates Interstate 11. Arizona, with support from its Congressional delegation and a collection of public and private partners, has fought to include I-11 in the bill to create the designation for this proposed new interstate highway corridor.
"The importance of the Interstate 11 designation for Arizona cannot be emphasized enough," said Governor Brewer. "Congressional action to include I-11 in the Transportation Bill is a significant step in continuing to foster economic development and tourism, build stronger transportation infrastructure for the Intermountain West and support national and international trade."
Governor Brewer has been a strong proponent of the I-11 corridor since taking office. She advocated on behalf of the project as part of her State of the State address in January and travelled to Washington in April to meet with Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. I-11 is also a cornerstone of the Governor's jobs and economic development agenda that examines current and future transportation and trade infrastructure needs to improve Arizona's competitiveness in a global marketplace.
"Governor Brewer recognizes the important link between infrastructure, trade and the economy. Under her leadership, Arizona has long advocated for the creation of I-11 to better link Phoenix to Las Vegas," said Arizona Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski. "More importantly, I-11 will create a new trade corridor from the border with Mexico to better connect Arizona to the national and international economies."
While an exact alignment for I-11 will be determined through extensive engineering and environmental studies, the work beginning this summer will examine a connection between Phoenix and Las Vegas, with the potential to extend north towards Canada and south to the Mexico border. Such a corridor provides a new connection for communities, major trade hubs, existing and future domestic and international deepwater ports and intersecting transcontinental roadways and railroad corridors.
Phoenix and Las Vegas remain the largest cities in the nation not linked by an interstate highway corridor. The combined population of Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Reno was less than 700,000 when the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was enacted. Today, the combined population of these cities is 8 million and is expected to grow even further, prompting the need for better surface transportation connections to accommodate not only the travel demand between these metropolitan areas, but also improved mobility for freight shipments throughout the Intermountain West and inland portions of the West Coast.