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New Loop 202 section named in remembrance of late congressman

UNITED STATES – JULY 20: Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., speaks during the news conference on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, to announce efforts to rename room HVC 215 after slain congressional staff member Gabe Zimmerman. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

PHOENIX — The Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names approved the naming of a 22-mile South Mountain section of the Loop 202 to Congressman Ed Pastor Freeway.

The freeway, which is currently under construction, is being named after the late congressman after Democratic Rep. Diego Espinoza of Tolleson requested the name change.

Espinoza has the support of Pastor’s family.

“Congressman Pastor was instrumental in acquiring resources for Arizona’s transportation projects, which have helped our state and our economy grow,” Espinoza said in a press release.

“At the same time, he has inspired many Arizonans, including myself, through his lifelong commitment to justice, equality and public service, so this is an honor that is much deserved. This week, the Board took a historic step that really befits his legacy by naming this portion of the Loop 202 the Congressman Ed Pastor Freeway.”

Pastor’s wife, Verma Pastor, said the family is proud to be a part of the Loop 202 because her late husband “believed transportation initiative were vital to a growing community.”

The congressman held his position for 23 years and was the first Mexican-American from Arizona to be elected.

He played a crucial role in funding and building Valley transportation systems include the Metro Light Rail.

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