A proposed highway project near Tucson took a big step forward this summer.
Legislative support for the Sonoran Corridor
The Sonoran Corridor is a proposed 16-mile stretch connecting Interstate 10 to Interstate 19 near Tucson. Arizona Public Media reported that republican U.S. House Rep. Martha McSally has drafted legislation to include the proposed highway as part of the Federal Highway System.
The move has gain support from the rest of Arizona's congressional delegation, with each of the 8 remaining members signing on as co-sponsors of the legislation. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake also have a companion bill offered in the Senate.
The economics of a new road
While support from Arizona's D.C. delegation is encouraging news for the proposed development, the legislation does not include procurement of funding for the project.
"The corridor connect Mexico with the Aerospace Parkway."
A June 27 report from The Arizona Daily Star said that project costs for the corridor could total $600 million. Pima County voters will consider a bond proposition to secure an initial $30 million for the project, but The Star report did not identify a funding source for the remainder of the spend.
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry told The Star that he believes the highway will open up new real estate opportunities for commercial development. There are few environmental concerns within the proposed corridor, and the logistics of the region make it attractive for industries like manufacturing that need space and easy access to road, rail and air transportation.
The economics of the highway construction project may still be a work in progress, but the benefits to both commercial and residential users for the new road are significant.
In a June 23 press release, Senator McCain said the proposed highway "project will have a significant impact on state, regional, and national commerce by connecting major trade routes and improving transportation."
The corridor opens up residential access to parts of Tucson, but also connect Mexico with the Aerospace Parkway near Vail. Once finished, the highway will increase access to the University of Arizona Tech Park and the Tucson International Airport. That can only mean good things for the developing aerospace, automotive and high-tech manufacturing partnerships between Mexico and the U.S.
The Tucson and Pima County trade routes mentioned by McCain enable commercial traffic between Mexico and Southern Arizona. The highway project will encourage regional development in Arizona, but also form a new gateway to U.S. markets.