Downtown and south Phoenix to connect with major investment

Aug 12, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:19 am

(Twitter Photo / @SecretaryPete)...

(Twitter Photo / @SecretaryPete)

(Twitter Photo / @SecretaryPete)

PHOENIX – Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced millions in funding for Arizona from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and grant money at a Phoenix event Thursday.

Joined by U.S. Reps. Greg Stanton, Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Buttigieg focused on a $25 million grant for the Phoenix’s Rio Reimagined 3rd Street Bicycle-Pedestrian Project. The new pedestrian bridge will span the Rio Salado River.

According to a release by the U.S. Department of Transportation, “Rio Reimagined will build a new bike and pedestrian bridge that connects the north and south banks of the Rio Salado trail systems, creating an accessible, safe and direct crossing between south Phoenix and downtown.

“Once completed, the project will connect the underserved South Phoenix community– a majority-minority area where one-fifth of households lack access to a car– to education and employment opportunities in downtown Phoenix.”

It will also help connect pedestrians to the upcoming south Phoenix light rail extension, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

Buttigieg explained to KTAR News’ Gaydos and Chad, “Every big thing worth doing takes an up-front investment, but the return on that investment is: More jobs, more growth and cleaner air.”

He said investments into public transportation are becoming more important as Phoenix grows.

“If there’s no alternative, no public transportation, no good active transportation… The physics just don’t add up,” Buttigieg said. “You can’t move that many people, and that eventually catches up to you economically.”

The Rio Reimagined Project comes after years of support, with former Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain calling for similar developments along the Rio Salado riverbed.

“It didn’t have the funding, we went through years and years of people talking about doing infrastructure, promising it, never really happened. It finally got done,” Buttigieg said.

The bridge is receiving $25 million from a total of nearly $75.3 million for state transportation projects through the RAISE program.

Other projects include an investment into transportation options in Navajo County, a major bridge and street project revitalization in Tucson and reconstruction of the historic Mohave Road in northwest Arizona.

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Downtown and south Phoenix to connect with major investment