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  • Huckelberry: Transportation proposals critical to local economic expansion

    Mar 14, 2014 | Read More News
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    I-11Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry outlined the transportation proposals that are crucial to the region’s economic development in a presentation to the monthly Women’s Transportation Seminar on Thursday.

    Infrastructure improvements support economic expansion, Huckelberry said. Pima County must pursue infrastructure improvements to “take advantage of the trade opportunities we have with Mexico,” he said.

    Huckelberry advocates extending the proposed Interstate 11 between Las Vegas and Phoenix to the west and south of Tucson to connect with Interstate 19.

    Arizona is looking to improve its north-south transportation corridor to facilitate trade with Canada and Mexico, but the I-11 extension around Tucson will be needed to take truck traffic off of Interstate 10, where 290,000 vehicles a day are projected to travel by 2030, he said.

    A tentative route would avoid Saguaro National Park and would run mostly on State Trust land or land owned by Pima County or the City of Tucson, with minimal impact on private property or risk of urban sprawl, he said.

    To further facilitate trade and serve employment centers south of Tucson, Huckelberry advocates an Auxiliary Interstate Highway connecting I-19 at Pima Mine Road to I-10 near the entrance to The University of Arizona Science and Technology Park on Rita Road.

    Auxiliary Interstate HighwayThe highway would connect to Hughes Access Road south of Raytheon Missile Systems, which the County is relocating a half mile farther south to create a safety buffer for Raytheon and to allow the employer of 14,000 people to expand if needed. The highway would serve the future Aerospace and Defense Research and Business Park planned south of Hughes Access Road. It would also provide a trucking connection to the Port of Tucson, at Kolb Road and I-10, where cargo containers brought here by rail from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are transferred to trucks and vice versa.

    These assets and infrastructure projects, combined with a second runway at Tucson International Airport, could create “the number one logistics center in all of Arizona and probably in the Southwest,” Huckelberry said.

    Finally, an increase in the state gas tax of 10 cents per gallon is needed to repair existing roadways and build new ones, he said.

    The Federal Highway Trust Fund is bankrupt and the state Legislature took $1 billion in Highway User Revenue Funds from cities and counties to balance the state budget.

    The State Legislature has not addressed transportation funding by raising the gas tax, which has stood at 18 cents a gallon for 22 years, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t or can’t be done. Even Wyoming recently passed a 10-cent gas tax “without blinking an eye,” Huckelberry said.

    Click on the fact sheet images to get printable two-page PDFs.