The projects include rehabilitating a bridge on Interstate 15 along the Virgin River Gorge to and from the Nevada and Utah state borders and improving Arizona-California border crossing times on Interstate 10. Both interstates are heavily used by commercial trucks to travel and deliver goods into Arizona and the rest of the nation.
Up to $500 million is available to all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the fourth round of federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER IV) grant funds. ADOT recently submitted applications for $37.6 million to the U.S. Department of Transportation for projects in Mohave and La Paz counties.
“With limited funding available, we need to exhaust every option to pay for critical projects,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “That’s why federal discretionary grants are so important. These grants could put these projects on the fast track, while adding a substantial number of jobs in these rural areas.”
In the last round of the TIGER program, ADOT applied for nearly $100 million in federal funds to help offset costs for I-15 improvements and two other projects. However, Arizona did not receive any funds through the TIGER grant process when the winners were announced in December 2011.
In 2010, the city of Tucson successfully won federal funding for a $63 million modern streetcar project through TIGER funding. To date, this is the state’s only TIGER-awarded project.
The following are the projects that ADOT submitted for TIGER IV grant consideration:
I-15 Virgin River Bridge ($21.6 Million Grant, Total Cost $27 Million): The I-15 bridge (milepost 16) is located in the Virgin River Gorge in the northwestern corner of Arizona and serves as a vital link between the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and beyond. The bridge, built in 1973, is rated as “structurally deficient,” meaning it is safe, but requires repair or improvement. While most Arizonans have never driven on this remote 29-mile stretch of highway, it is a critical commercial trade route in North America used by more than 1.4 million trucks annually. The rehabilitation project would include the replacement of the bridge’s superstructure (girders, deck and railings), as well as widening the roadway.
Reconstruction of the Ehrenberg Port of Entry ($16 Million Grant, Total Cost $16.8 Million): The project would reconstruct the facility, which was built in 1976, and provide an effective electronic screening system to better facilitate the safe movement of commercial truck traffic into Arizona. The port of entry is located in western Arizona along I-10 approximately three miles from the state’s border with California. As one of the nation’s primary transportation corridors, I-10 provides a safe and expeditious route for commercial truck traffic to deliver goods from international sea ports in Southern California to Arizona and across the nation.
TIGER grants are awarded to transportation projects that have a significant national or regional impact. Projects are chosen for their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections. The USDOT gives priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate increases in economic activity.
The USDOT is expected to announce the winners of the TIGER IV grants later this year.