By Mary Jo Pitzl || The Arizona Republic
Interstate 10 is now three lanes in both directions between Casa Grande and Tucson, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Arizona would have the money to widen a 26-mile stretch of Interstate 10 between Chandler and Casa Grande without federal aid, if a bill that received unanimous approval Monday passes the full Legislature.
Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, is suggesting $360 million in state funds to backfill an expected rejection by federal officials of Arizona’s request for a grant of the same amount.
The $360 million in state funds would come in addition to the $400 million lawmakers approved last year for the project to widen the two-lane freeway to three lanes in each direction.
Last year’s allocation was built on the belief that Arizona would likely receive matching money from the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which Congress approved and President Joe Biden signed last year.
However, Shope said the state has since learned informally that the project would not make the cut as it only creates transit options for motor vehicles.
His plan, in Senate Bill 1065, would dip into the state’s $2 billion surplus to cover the $360 million that otherwise would have come from the federal government.
The bill passed its first hurdle Monday with a unanimous vote from the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee.