A fight is brewing over a proposed new highway in the state. Opponents of the proposed 280 mile project see it as a need vs. a want.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is a champion of the project that would connect Nogales to Wickenburg by adding new roadways and upgrading existing ones to meet interstate requirements. The estimated cost of the endeavor is between $3.1 billion and $7.3 billion dollars, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Ducey sees the proposed new highway as a way to connect the United States, Mexico, and Canada along a new “International” travel route. The proposed road would connect with the newly built I-11 in Nevada.
Not everyone shares the governor’s optimism over the project.
State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, says that the state should take care of its existing infrastructure before building new roads, according to Capitol Media Services.
The Center for Biological Diversity is concerned that the proposed new pathway will disrupt environments. They also wonder if the new highway would provide relief from the traffic congestion that many residents face.
Both Finchem and The Center for Biological Diversity agree that the state may be better served by focusing those billions of dollars on rail and other mass transit initiatives.
Many communities along the proposed path have hopes that a new highway will bring with it logistics centers meaning business and jobs.
Even so, not every community is convinced. The Tucson City Council voted to oppose the project. Their decision was based on a concern over the path of the road which would cut through a number of natural reserves.
Other groups, such as Audubon Arizona, support the project but want to switch the routw to one with less of an environmental impact, according to the Arizona Republic.