Governor Ducey Requests Federal Funding For Tonto Creek Bridge

News Release

January 8, 2020

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao urging her to prioritize funding for the Tonto Creek Bridge in Gila County.

Tonto Basin, which is divided by the Tonto Creek, is a 1,500-resident community in Gila County. When the Tonto Creek floods, it blocks residents from accessing schools, healthcare and amenities. In November, three children were killed after their family's vehicle became stranded in the creek during a time of high water. 

“Residents need a bridge over Tonto Creek for basic safety and quality of life needs,” Governor Ducey said in the letter. “Since 1995 eight people have died while attempting to cross in their vehicles during high-water times; three children lost their lives while crossing in a vehicle the day after Thanksgiving less than two months ago.”

In December 2019, President Trump signed Fiscal Year 2020 spending bills that included $1 billion for the BUILD Grant program. In the letter, Governor Ducey explained that the Tonto Bridge would be an excellent candidate that would benefit the Tonto Basin’s safety efforts, quality of life and economic competitiveness. 

“The Arizona Department of Transportation stands ready to provide technical review and assistance to Gila County through its BUILD Grant application,” he said. “I look forward to offering my continued support.”

To view the letter, please click HERE.

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January 8, 2020

  

The Honorable Elaine L. Chao

Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, D.C.  20590-001

 

 Re:     Tonto Creek Bridge, Gila County Arizona

 

Dear Secretary Chao:

 

I am writing regarding an important Arizona transportation infrastructure need outside of the state highway system.

Gila County is home to the Tonto Basin and its 1,500-resident-community north of Roosevelt Lake.  The community is divided by Tonto Creek, a waterbed that when flooded, strands homes on the creek’s east side from schools, medical care, and amenities on the west. High-waters closed the only roads across Tonto Creek for 75 days in 2017.

 Residents need a bridge over Tonto Creek for basic safety and quality of life needs. Since 1995, eight people have died while attempting to cross in their vehicles during high-water times; three children lost their lives while crossing in a vehicle the day after Thanksgiving less than two months ago. 

Gila County has applied for several federal grants for the project, including a Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant, but were denied. The most recent denial came just weeks before the latest tragedy.

I was encouraged to see that the Federal FY 2020 spending bills signed by President Trump in December included $1 billion for the BUILD Grant program. The proposed Tonto Creek Bridge is an excellent candidate. The bridge would significantly increase safety, improve quality of life, and bolster economic competitiveness in the Tonto Basin.

The Tonto Creek Bridge has my highest recommendation for BUILD Grant funding, and I urge your support for this project. The Arizona Department of Transportation stands ready to provide technical review and assistance to Gila County through its BUILD Grant application. I look forward to offering my continued support. Thank you for your partnership with local and state governments to make these critical transportation improvements possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Douglas A. Ducey

Governor, State of Arizona

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