The State of Arizona’s fiscal year 2020 budget, which begins on July 1, is committing around $130 million between now and 2023 for a highway widening project connecting the city of Anthem with Black Canyon City.
The north-to-south Interstate 17 ultimately links Flagstaff with Phoenix, but that 15-mile section between Anthem and Black Canyon City has long been regarded as a too-narrow trouble spot prone to massive traffic backups, particularly on weekends.
The state’s new budget also includes $10 million for what is categorized as “preventive road surface maintenance” throughout the state, and $700,000 for the construction of a new inspection facility at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales.
The construction of a new cold room at the port, according to a press release issued from the office of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, will “improve the port’s ability to import temperature-sensitive cargo like produce and pharmaceuticals and move more goods through our ports.”
A final $3 million in the budget is targeting new broadband installation throughout rural Arizona, following up on a state blueprint released last year stating that broadband service in much of the state’s rural areas “is not only unreliable, it is also unaffordable.”
That report, the Arizona Statewide Broadband Strategic Plan, also noted that “single points of failure exist,” with “a distinct lack of redundancy, putting residents and visitors in serious danger when outages occur because critical services become inaccessible.”
By Garry Boulard
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