U.S. Representative Martha McSally today released the following statement after the House passed the conference report for H.R. 22, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a long-term reauthorization of surface transportation infrastructure projects. Rep. McSally led advocacy on four Southern Arizona priorities, including the Sonoran Corridor, that were included in the bill.
"After months of persistent efforts to advocate for our priorities, we have secured major victories for Southern Arizona families in this bill," said Rep. McSally. "The legislation advances projects such as the widening of SR-189 near Nogales and the construction of the Sonoran Corridor, a project that could bring about billions of dollars in economic growth and hundreds of thousands of new jobs here. It also enables federal funding for important trade routes like the I-19 network and I-11 system. This is what getting things done looks like, and I'm proud of the bipartisan work in the House and Senate to move this bill forward."
"I am so thankful for Sen. McCain's and Rep. McSally's leadership in getting this designation added to the Transportation bill and through the Congress," said Sharon Bronson, chair of the Pima County Board of Supervisors. "Their leadership, combined with the strong bi-partisan support this project received from the entire Arizona Congressional delegation, resulted in a major victory for the people of southern Arizona and the entire state. The Sonoran Corridor has the potential to be the most significant economic development effort in the county's history. The very foundation, the very backbone of the entire effort is the auxiliary highway connecting the two interstates. This designation is the first, vital step on the long road we still have to travel for funding and construction. The future prosperity of our region just got a little brighter today."
"Southern Arizona's business leaders applaud the passage of this bill as a vital step to enhance our nation's critical transportation infrastructure," said Ronald Shoopman, President and CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. "Today's passage is very positive news for our region, and we commend Rep. McSally's leadership and persistent advocacy efforts for all of Southern Arizona's priorities included in this legislation."
The Conference Report to H.R. 22 passed the House today in a strongly bipartisan vote 369-65. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation this week.
In June, Rep. McSally introduced bipartisan legislation, the Sonoran Corridor Interstate Development Act, to designate the Sonoran Corridor a "High Priority Corridor on the National Highway System." On August 18, she led a letter signed by the full Arizona delegation to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation calling for the inclusion of the designation in long-term transportation reauthorization legislation.
A recently released report estimates the corridor project would eventually create a $32.2 billion annual impact to the regional economy and would directly and indirectly support as many 189,000 jobs.