FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 15, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In February Arizona learned that federal transportation authorities had rejected its request for $360 million in matching funds to widen a constricted 26-mile corridor of I-10 on the Gila River Indian Community. The largest of nine 2022 "mega grant" projects awarded was $292 million, and the average award was $130 million.
On Wednesday Representative Myron Tsosie, Republican House Transportation Chairman David Cook and Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis met with U.S. Department of Transportation officials and Senator Mark Kelly and staff for Senator Kyrsten Sinema to urge consideration of a scaled-back $130 million grant request. That request, if approved, could still move the project forward along with $640 million of accumulated state and Maricopa Association of Governments funding, Tsosie said.
"We greatly appreciate officials from the Department of Transportation and our Senators for hearing our concerns," said Tsosie, the ranking Democratic member on the House Transportation Committee. "Reconsidering and granting funds to widen the I-10 would be a huge benefit to the Gila River Indian Community and to our statewide economy that heavily relies on this important but overworked transit corridor. The meetings went well and we are optimistic about the outcomes."
In addition to meeting with Sen. Kelly and Sen. Sinema's staff, the delegation met with Christopher Coes, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, Paul Baumer, Senior Policy Advisor for Infrastructure Finance & Innovation and former Arizona State Representative Arlando Teller who is now Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs.