Tucson Mayor Regina Romero again signaled her support for the American Jobs Plan and other infrastructure measures moving through Congress by penning an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star on June 13, 2021.
In the article, the Mayor thanked Arizona Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva, and Greg Stanton for working to include measures in the House Invest in America Act, writing:
“Thanks to the efforts of Congressman Grijalva, Congresswoman Kirkpatrick, and Congressman Stanton, seed funding for both of these major projects were included in the $547 million INVEST in America Act surface transportation bill that was just approved by a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives a few days ago. In addition, this legislation includes funding for “Complete Streets” projects for 5th/6th Street from downtown to Wilmot Road, and South Campbell Avenue between Benson Highway and Valencia Road. These projects would provide continuous and fully accessible sidewalks, improve landscaping, reconstruct pavement, and enhance bicycle lanes.”
The Mayor also expressed her support for the Biden/Harris American Jobs Plan as an additional modernization building block on top of Tucson’s Move Tucson plan, relaying:
“Make no mistake: the level of need is enormous and local resources will only go so far. At the federal level, we have a once-in-a-generation infrastructure package in the form of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP). The AJP would be transformative for Tucson and communities across the country, rebuilding our nation’s transportation networks, creating millions of good-paying, union, and green jobs, prioritizing historically underinvested communities, and re-defining “infrastructure” to encompass basic necessities such as high-speed internet and affordable housing.”
“Public infrastructure investment is a catalyst for private investment and economic growth. The streetcar is a perfect example of this, spurring over $1 billion in private investments in our urban core. Through the American Jobs Plan, we have the possibility of funding a state-of-the-art, regional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, running 15 miles from the Tohono Tadai Transit Center all the way down to the Tucson International Airport. For those unfamiliar with the concept, BRT typically consists of dedicated bus lanes, smart signalization, prioritization at intersections, off-board fare collection, and other design elements that expedite travel time, and give the “feel” of riding a streetcar. The route would run down key north-south corridors, including Oracle Road and South 6th Avenue, supplementing current transit-oriented development planning efforts already underway.”
“The plan calls for the repair of thousands of bridges nationwide. Here in Tucson, I am advocating for the building of the Drexel Bridge. The Drexel Bridge project would support enhanced economic vitality, divert traffic from some of the most highly congested areas in our city, and reconnect communities long separated by the Santa Cruz River and Interstate 19 with vehicle, biking, and walking access.”
Ms. Romero also pointed out that funding in the American Jobs Plan would assist both in the PFAS water treatment plan Tucson is currently saddled with and just intensified with the closing last week of TARP and the acceleration of clean energy-sustainability projects.
The Mayor wrote:
“As the third fastest-warming city in the U.S., it is imperative that any infrastructure plan takes significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protects our precious water resources. Just a few days ago, Tucson Water announced that they would be shutting down one of our water treatment facilities due to increasing levels of a group of toxic chemicals known as PFAS. Importantly, the AJP includes $10 billion to monitor and remediate PFAS contamination in communities throughout the country. Additionally, the plan includes grants and incentives to install 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations nationwide. Locally, we are about to operationalize our first five electric buses, thanks to a federal grant and strong public-private partnership with Tucson Electric Power, who is providing the charging infrastructure. The AJP targets 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities.”
“The reality is that none of these projects will happen without major federal investment from the American Jobs Plan. If we go too small, we run the risk of falling even further behind other developed countries. The American Jobs Plan will allow Tucson and communities throughout America to make critical investments that will increase mobility, improve safety, and address the climate crisis, while supporting our city’s goal of shifting how we invest in transportation to create a thriving, inclusive, and sustainable city for all.”
Mayor Romero’s, and the Biden/Harris Administration’s vision for Tucson is forward, environmentally friendly, and tailored toward the sustainable technologies of tomorrow.
Hopefully, the components of the American Jobs Plan, Families Plan, and other measures being considered in Congress will all materialize.