ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s what Arizona is allocated under $1T infrastructure bill

Nov 15, 2021, 4:25 AM | Updated: 2:47 pm
(Flickr Photo/ADOT)...
(Flickr Photo/ADOT)
(Flickr Photo/ADOT)

PHOENIX — President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law Monday, allocating billions of dollars to Arizona.

The bill provides funds to rebuild roads and bridges, and also to shore up coastlines against climate change, protect public utility systems from cyberattacks and modernize the electric grid. Public transit, airports and freight rail also get boosts.

The Senate passed the bill, which Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona helped negotiate, in August. The House approved it on Nov. 5. The plan garnered support from both parties in both chambers.

“While bringing both parties together can seem impossible these days, Arizonans elected me to do the hard work,” Sinema said in a statement after the details of the plan were hammered out in July.

“Our historic legislation would make the strongest investment in America’s critical infrastructure in a century—creating Arizona jobs, expanding economic opportunities for our state, securing our water future, and protecting our communities from wildfires.”

Here’s a breakdown of some of the funding heading to the Grand Canyon State:

$5 billion

The highest allocation is for major highway projects in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation. U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, in his maiden speech on the Senate floor in August, noted paving roads on Navajo Nation and widening Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson as major projects he’d like to be done with the money.

$884 million

Public transportation systems in Arizona get a hefty boost. Valley Metro in the Phoenix area gets about $500 million. SunTran in Tucson is allocated $118 million, while YCAT in Yuma receives $21 million. Other Arizona transit systems get money as well.

Phoenix is also the largest city in the contiguous United States that doesn’t have passenger train service but plans are in the works for that to change. Amtrak wants to line up a three-times-daily roundtrip between Phoenix and Tucson that could begin service in as little as three years. Funding comes from the infrastructure plan.

$547 million

Land ports of entry on Arizona’s southern border get a massive facelift. The current Douglas Port of Entry gets $184 million for rehabilitation, while a new port of entry in Douglas gets $216 million. The San Luis Port of Entry takes in $147 million. All of those projects are fully funded by the plan.

$290.4 million

Arizona is allocated $210.8 million annually from the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Loan fund, which provides funding to help public and private drinking water systems finance significant infrastructure investments.

An additional $79.6 million is being allotted annually for Arizona from the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which provides funding to help public wastewater systems finance significant infrastructure investments.

$225 million

Bridge replacement and repair is another necessity addressed in the plan. The allocation creates a Bridge Investment Program in Arizona, which has 132 structurally deficient bridges.

$100 million

A nine-figure investment in affordable, high-speed internet access is part of the plan. Some funding was set aside for states such as Arizona that have a number of rural communities where construction costs for broadband projects are higher.

A permanent Affordable Connectivity Benefit program provides a $30-a-month voucher to low-income families to be used to afford internet access.

$54 million

Arizona gets $54 million per year to remove and replace lead pipes.

Other funding affecting Arizona

Wildfire management: The plan puts $8.25 billion into wildfire management. About $2.4 billion is for programs at the USDA Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to reduce hazardous fuels on federal, state and tribal lands. The funding will go toward completing mechanic thinning, prescribed fire, firebreaks, Good Neighbor Agreements and forest stewardship contracts greater than 10,000 acres.

An additional $1 billion is set aside for Community Wildfire Defense Grants to help at-risk forest communities build defensible space against wildfires.

Also, $600 million is included to hire more federal wildland firefighters, give pay raises and provide mental health services. An additional $100 million will go to grants to state, local and volunteer fire departments for wildfire preparedness.

Finally, $300 million in funding goes to the Emergency Watershed Protection Program at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. This account is used to conduct post-fire flood prevention on non-federal land impacted by fires such as those impacting Gila County and Coconino County in the Telegraph and Museum fires.

Tribal water, broadband and transportation infrastructure: The plan allocates $2.5 billion to fully fund enacted Indian Water Rights Settlements that have been waiting on Congress to receive full funding to complete related tribal water infrastructure projects.

Included are settlements for the Gila River Indian Community, the Tohono O’odham Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

Also, $3.5 billion is set aside for the IHS Sanitation Facilities Construction Program, which will fully fund the infrastructure backlog for all IHS operated water and wastewater facilities in tribal communities.

It will improve sanitation for approximately 15,000 Navajo homes and thousands of other homes in tribal communities across Arizona.

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Here’s what Arizona is allocated under $1T infrastructure bill