Although the Arizona State House of Representatives earlier this year approved legislation providing up to $15 million in funding for the construction of a new Tonto Basin bridge, that funding was taken away due to the state’s COVID-19 fiscal challenges.
Now, Representative Sylvia Allen said she is determined to find a way for the structure to be funded out of Washington.
“I will continue to see what I can do for funding this bridge,” Allen told the Arizona Capital Times. “I’m just heartsick because it was in the budget.”
Allen and several other lawmakers proposed the funding after the death late last year of three children who drowned when the vehicle they were riding in was swept away by the Tonto Creek’s floodwaters.
Since 1995 nearly ten people have drowned trying to cross the creek in the Tonto Basin, a rural community of around 1,400 people located some 70 miles northeast of Phoenix.
Design work by Gila County on what is expected to be a 2,000 foot-long bridge has already been completed, with at least $3 million set aside by the county for the fund.
The measure sponsored by Allen would have authorized $15 million to come out of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s general fund.
State officials are now considering the possibility of applying to the federal Department of Transportation for funding for the bridge project.
By Garry Boulard
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