Peshlakai urges governor to use emergency funds to repair collapsed highway in Northern Arizona
In a letter, Peshlakai asked Gov. Jan Brewer to declare an official state of emergency and release money available within the Governor’s Emergency Fund to stabilize, repair and reopen the damaged portion of Highway 89 as quickly as possible. Additionally, she asked that officials consider using emergency money to pave Indian Route 20 and the unpaved portion of Indian Route 21. Both routes reconnect the region to the rest of the state via Highway 89 and Highway 160.
“We should be working with the Navajo Nation and other communities to make this bypass route a safe alternative until the repairs to Highway 89 are complete,” Peshlakai said.
The Arizona Department of Transportation recently sent a request for federal emergency funds but Peshlakai believes state emergency funds will be available faster.
“Many of the Arizonans living around the area of the collapsed highway are concerned about the safety of the remaining portions of the highway and the economic impact the closure will have,” Peshlakai said. “It is the primary corridor for the delivery of many goods. It is used to transport everything from groceries to gasoline to the area. Also, tourism around Lake Powell and the Colorado River, a major source of economic activity, will be negatively affected. We must complete repairs as fast as possible.”
She also asked the governor to utilize the regulatory powers of state agencies to ensure unscrupulous individuals do not use this as an opportunity to take advantage of the residents in the communities who are now unable to use this main corridor of commerce. Peshlakai added that Arizonans living in the areas affected by the collapse of the highway do not have access to a nearby hospital, and are facing difficulties getting students to schools.
“Highway 89 must be reopened quickly,” Peshlakai said. “It is a matter of public safety and economic viability for this area.”