Congresswoman Martha McSally

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

U.S. Rep. McSally Leads AZ House Delegation Effort in Support of Sonoran Corridor Designation

August 19, 2015
Press Release

All Nine AZ House Members Sign Letter Calling for Inclusion of Designation in Long-term Reauthorization Legislation

TUCSON – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today led the full Arizona House delegation to call for the inclusion of provisions designating the Sonoran Corridor, an interstate connecting Interstate-19 and Interstate-10 south of the Tucson International Airport, in long-term transportation reauthorization legislation. In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation, the lawmakers urged the interstate designation as a way to ease congestion in Tucson, reduce travel time and costs, and expand trade connectivity between Southern Arizona and major transportation routes throughout the United States.

“The Sonoran Corridor would provide essential supplementary infrastructure to keep pace with a region poised for tremendous economic growth,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “It is perfectly aligned with and strongly supportive of established national transportation policy goals, including congestion reduction, freight movement and economic vitality.”

On June 23, Rep. McSally introduced H.R. 2859, the Sonoran Corridor Interstate Development Act of 2015, to designate the Sonoran Corridor a “High Priority Corridor on the National Highway System.” The bill has the support of the full Arizona House delegation and a companion bill was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators McCain and Flake. Similar legislative language also was included in long-term transportation reauthorization legislation in the Senate, which passed on July 30, 2015.

A PDF of the letter can be viewed HERE.  

The full letter text follows.

 
The Honorable Bill Shuster
Chairman
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Peter DeFazio
Ranking Member
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Washington, D.C. 20515
 

Dear Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio:

As the Members of Congress representing Arizona, we are writing to urge your support for language designating the Sonoran Corridor in Pima County, Arizona, as a High Priority Corridor and future Interstate, as contained in H.R. 2859, the Sonoran Corridor Interstate Development Act of 2015, in any long-term transportation reauthorization bill. The Sonoran Corridor would substantially improve a critical regional, state and national corridor, and enhance the future Interstate 11 and other High Priority trade corridors. This language was included in the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act, which passed in the Senate on July 30, 2015.

The Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona, is one of the busiest in the country with nearly three million northbound vehicles processed each year and an estimated 763,000 truck crossings annually (FY2013).  This single crossing handles 80% of all Arizona trade with Mexico and billions of dollars in U.S. trade, including nearly 50% of all winter produce consumed in the U.S.  The vast majority of that freight traffic travels from the border north on Interstate 19 past Tucson International Airport to intersect with Interstate 10 in the middle of the heavily congested City of Tucson.  The 16-mile Sonoran Corridor would enable east bound truck traffic to bypass this route, reducing travel distance by 12 miles and average time by 20 minutes per truck, with an estimated total truck cost savings of $30,000 per day.   

The Sonoran Corridor would serve as the most direct linkage between trading routes connecting the ports, agricultural region and manufacturing centers of northwest Mexico to federal High Priority Corridors, including the Camino Real Corridor serving New Mexico, Colorado and points north to Canada and the SPIRIT Corridor running from El Paso through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, connecting to the East-West Transamerica Corridor running from Kansas to the east coast. 

The Sonoran Corridor would provide essential supplementary infrastructure to keep pace with a region poised for tremendous economic growth.  Work continues on the $600 million Port of Guaymas expansion project on Mexico’s west coast, which will triple capacity over five years and become a major North American port facility serving the burgeoning markets in Asia and South America.  Mexico has committed $1 Billion for Highway 15 between Sinaloa and Nogales. On the U.S. side, the recently completed $244 million expansion of the Mariposa Port of Entry now provides capacity to process more than 4,000 trucks per day.      

The Sonoran Corridor would also significantly enhance connectivity on the Intermountain West Corridor and future Interstate 11, creating complete commerce connectivity between the United States, Mexico and Canada, enabling expanded trade relations between Latin America and Southwestern United States.

Despite heavy traffic volumes and substantial current and projected growth in the region, the Tucson metropolitan area has fewer high speed, limited access roadway facilities than nearly all other similarly sized communities in the U.S.  According to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2012 Urban Mobility Report, the region was ranked as the sixth highest out of 33 similar sized metro areas for total vehicle miles, but was ranked near the bottom at 30th for the number of freeway lane miles per capita.       

In summary, the Sonoran Corridor will provide critical transportation connectivity for the region and country, enhancing trade, commerce, and freight efficiency in a growing region with limited transportation infrastructure.  It is perfectly aligned with and strongly supportive of established national transportation policy goals, including congestion reduction, freight movement and economic vitality. We applaud your hard work and continued efforts to produce a long-term, sustainable solution to fund maintenance to and upgrades of our nation’s transportation system and respectfully urge your support to include H.R. 2859, the Sonoran Corridor Interstate Development Act of 2015 in the final product.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.   

Sincerely,