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How Tucson and Arizona benefit from Biden's infrastructure bill

How Tucson and Arizona benefit from Biden's infrastructure bill
Posted at 8:53 PM, Nov 16, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill into law on Monday that gives more than a trillion dollars to public works projects nationwide. More than 7 billion is coming to Arizona.

“One trillion dollars, this historic funding for infrastructure, we’re going to feel it directly here in Pima County,” said Adelita Grijalva, Pima County Supervisor, District 5.

The largest portion of the money, around $5 billion, is going into highway projects such as widening Interstate 10.

“Traffic delays continue to interfere on our quality of life," said Andrés Cano, Arizona State Representative, District 3. "I think ultimately the bottom line is that these dollars are going to be able to create jobs, provide good opportunity to make the investments we need in the infrastructure that has gone underserved.”

There’s investment in low-emission transportation, with $118 million going to Sun Tran buses.

“It allows us to set up the stations," Grijalva said. "Where are you going to plug all of these zero-emission electric vehicles? We don’t have the infrastructure for that right now, but we will after this.”

Representatives want to use some of the money to rebuild the Drexel Bridge, connecting southern Tucson to the rest of the city.

“In reality, what we now have is an opportunity to be able to say this is a key priority for southern Arizona,” Cano said.

The bill also promises to improve the infrastructure of public water systems, the hope is to bring reusable, clean water to Tucson.

“It's an existential issue, water security, water contamination," said Steve Kozachik, Tucson City Council member. "When we’re getting ready to serve ground water necessarily because of the situation in the Colorado River and Lake Mead.

More than $500 million are going towards renovating land ports of entry along Arizona’s southern border.

“It’s better for both communities, both Arizona and Mexico, to have that cross-commerce happen faster,” Grijalva said.

The bill invests $100 million to create affordable, high-speed internet access across the country. There's also specific funding set aside for rural communities in Arizona. Part of that funding will go towards a permanent Affordable Connectivity Benefit program. The program provides low-income families with a monthly voucher for $30 to access internet.

Arizona will also get money for wildfire management, and $54 million per year to replace lead pipes.