Arizona State Rep. David Cook Seeks Financial Aid to Get I-10 Widening Project Underway

Arizona State Representative David Cook (R-Globe) announced Thursday that he is seeking federal aid in financing a project to widen Interstate 10 (I-10) between Chandler and Casa Grande.

“The state of Arizona has invested a total of $630 million into this project to date. The Mega grant is the missing piece that will finally complete this essential artery and bring relief to thousands of residents throughout Arizona and the country,” Cook wrote.

Cook inquired about the needed $360 million loan in a letter sent to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg, asking if those funds are still available to the state.

“I am asking you to help the underserved community by securing this grant money in an area that is in desperate need,” Cook said.

The Arizona Sun Times reached out to DOT for a response to Cook’s letter but did not hear back.

The proposed construction plan would update a 26-mile stretch of the I-10 between Chandler and Casa Grande by adding a new general-purpose lane to the highway. The area currently has just two lanes in each direction. Additionally, the bridges over the Gila River would be updated, new traffic interchanges would be built, plus ADOT would install more highway cameras and sensors.

A bulk of the already available funding for this project came from the state Legislature in 2022. State Senator T.J. Shope (R-Maricopa County) sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 1239, which allocated $400 million from the state general fund to fund the project. The bill passed with bipartisan support and was signed in May. The other $230 million was already saved up by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), in part from Proposition 400. However, these large funds were still insufficient to completely fund the project, with the federal grant needed to fill the final gap.

Yet, as reported by KAWC, if the money does not come from the federal government, it may have to come from the state. Allegedly, a request for a federal grant for this project was already rejected, possibly because officials were looking to fund “green transportation” projects that focused on alternative transportation. So, to still get the project moving, Shope is reportedly considering new legislation that would finish the funding. However, as an incentive to get support for the bill, Shope said the money would go back into the state treasury for use in other projects if a source of federal money is found for the project.

According to ADOT, because roads between Chandler and Casa Grande are cramped, traffic in the area often gets congested. Should this project be completed, the highway between Phoenix and Tucson would be at three lanes each way. It may make travel between the metropolitans smoother, especially for those who need to use it to travel for work daily.

Cook wrote that over 110,000 vehicles drive through this area of the I-10 daily, which includes commercial and freight traffic. The I-10 connects Southern California, Arizona, and international trade. ADOT states that with a wider road, freight transportation may become more reliable through the state.

The project is set to begin in 2023, with a goal of having everything completed by 2026.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “David Cook” by Arizona House Republicans. Background Photo “Arizona Interstate” by Anthony Simuel.




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