John Halikowski, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, noted the 60th anniversary of the national interstate highway system initiated by President Dwight Eisenhower and said this essential infrastructure requires sustained investment.
“By carrying many thousands of trucks each and every week, our interstates in Arizona are a critical lifeline for the health of our state’s businesses and our economic well-being,” Halikowski said. “If our interstate freeways are not reliable, high-quality corridors, Arizona will not be able to maintain our existing businesses and attract new business to the state."
“Arizona is at the heart of the 10th-largest regional economy in the world stretching from Southern California to Texas,” Halikowski said. “We’re reminding Arizonans, from business owners to policymakers to the traveling public, that interstates provide the links to this trillion-dollar market. The importance of these links cannot be overstated.”
Halikowski last month led efforts to establish an Interstate 10 Corridor Coalition with transportation leaders from California, New Mexico and Texas. An agreement, signed June 2, supports plans to make travel on I-10 safer and more efficient.
ADOT also is laying the groundwork for another interstate. Although it’s likely many years from reality, Interstate 11 is on the drawing board as a corridor improving travel between Phoenix and Las Vegas and also as part of a bigger vision for connecting southern Arizona, at Nogales, with the Intermountain West region, including Nevada.
Last December, Congress formally designated I-11 through Arizona as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. While that designation didn’t include funding, it does make the corridor eligible for future federal funding.