At the invitation of President Biden, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero will be participating in the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at the White House scheduled for Monday at 1:00 pm MST (3:00 pm EST). Mayor Romero has been one of the strongest proponents among U.S. mayors for the passage of this sweeping infrastructure package.
The law will invest billions of dollars in improving roads and bridges, expanding passenger rail, updating ports of entry, cleaning up PFAS contamination, increasing broadband access, and building a network of electric vehicle charging stations.
“This bill represents a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, supporting several potential projects locally, ranging from a state-of-the-art bus rapid transit system and a new Tucson-Phoenix passenger rail line plus a grid of electric-vehicle charging stations and cleaning up PFAS contamination,” said Romero.
“I applaud the leadership of Senator Sinema, Senator Kelly, and all members of our Congressional delegation who helped bring this bill across the finish line. We look forward to breaking ground on transformative projects that will improve connections throughout the region, invest in historically marginalized communities, reduce our carbon footprint, and create good-paying jobs.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Romero wrote an op-ed outlining local projects that could be funded through federal infrastructure investment. Specifically, Mayor Romero has advocated for critical projects, including:
Construction of a new Drexel Bridge
This much-needed connector across the Santa Cruz River would support enhanced economic vitality, divert traffic from some of the most highly congested areas in our city, and reconnect communities with vehicle, biking, and walking access.
Construction of Tucson’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line
Bus Rapid Transit 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 city has received an initial planning grant for a BRT line running down Oracle Road in the north, through downtown, and down South 6th Avenue to the Tucson International Airport. Tucson’s Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) is also exploring an east-west route down Broadway Blvd. The bill includes $89.9 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years.
Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and bus fleet electrification
The bill includes funds for public transit electrification and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, supporting the city’s Electric Vehicle Roadmap and Mayor and Council’s goal of electrifying the city’s transit and vehicle fleet. Mayor Romero and DTM recently deployed the city’s first five electric buses.
Passenger rail between Tucson and Phoenix
In July, Mayor Romero led a bipartisan group of Mayors from Pima County and Maricopa County in writing a letter in support of a new Tucson-Phoenix Amtrak line. $66B is included in the bill for Amtrak.
Importantly, the bill includes $10 billion for urgently-needed PFAS clean-up efforts, including in Tucson, where PFAS contamination has been identified near Davis Monthan Air Force Base and Tucson International Airport. The State of Arizona, through the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, is estimated to receive $72 million annually for five years for PFAS clean-up.