Arizona Launches Critical Effort To Enhance Infrastructure

News Release

April 14, 2022

Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act Task Force Will Optimize Competitive Federal Funds

PHOENIX — Arizona launched an effort today to ensure the state continues to efficiently and effectively use federal infrastructure funds.

The Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act Task Force will strategically align Arizona’s priorities and investments with competitive federal funding opportunities. 

Funding from the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), a massive $1.2 trillion spending bill passed by Congress earlier this year, spans energy efficiency, electric grid improvements, water resilience and storage, broadband expansion, cybersecurity and workforce development.

“In the last seven years, Arizona has made significant investments in broadband expansion, energy grid resilience, and more infrastructure improvements. Especially throughout the pandemic, we utilized federal and state funds to continue to build on Arizona’s economic resiliency,” said Governor Doug Ducey on the kick off of the task force. “The federal infrastructure package was way too expensive, but it did pass and we will take full advantage of its competitive funding and optimize these once-in-a-generation funds to support our state’s future.”

The infrastructure funds present an opportunity for Arizona to continue investing in ensuring resiliency for the state’s economy. 

Leading the effort is the state’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Rose Webber, who will serve as the State Coordinator of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“It’s not just about the things we build, but the people and the lives we will impact for generations to come,” said Webber at the initial task force meeting today. “We often don’t think about infrastructure, but it’s a part of our daily lives. We have a lot to do very quickly, and if we speak and act with one voice, Arizona is better positioned to receive these funds. The IIJA Task Force will set Arizona up for success by building a framework for our state to compete for funding and administer funding statewide.”

The task force is a team of Arizona agency heads, technical and subject matter experts and other critical players that will look to enhance collaboration, optimize investments and track performance related to IIJA in Arizona. The task force will work with local leaders, private industry, and tribal governments to coordinate funding.

With such a large amount of funds available, Arizona agencies will work together to ensure these investments are a force multiplier on state investments to benefit Arizonans.

IIJA programs will be established over the next five years.

The IIJA Task Force is currently composed of the Arizona departments of Administration, Economic Security, Emergency and Military Affairs, Environmental Quality, Forestry and Fire Management, Homeland Security, Housing, Transportation, and Water Resources, as well as the Arizona Commerce Authority and Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.

BACKGROUND

Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, Arizona has made strategic investments to improve and expand infrastructure – including reliable and affordable high-speed internet. 

In March 2022, following a multi-year effort, Governor Ducey and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) celebrated the opening of a new connection on State Route 189 – a key international trade corridor.

In February 2022, the Governor and ADOT announced a $68.1 million investment to expand broadband connectivity along Interstate 40 West from Flagstaff to the California border.

The expansion sustains the momentum of the Statewide Middle-Mile Network, which is currently underway adding connectivity along I-17 and I-19.

Governor Ducey’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposes funding to accelerate the expansion of a congested 25 mile stretch of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson from two lanes to three lanes. Projects like this spur additional federal funding.

In November 2021 Governor Ducey announced a $100 million commitment to expand high-speed broadband to unserved or underserved areas of the state, making it one of the single largest broadband investments in state history. 

In May 2021, the Governor signed legislation aimed at expanding broadband access in Arizona, allowing private broadband providers to install, operate and maintain telecommunications equipment within ADOT’s rights-of-way. 

As part of the fiscal year 2020 budget, Governor Ducey and the state Legislature invested $3 million to establish the Rural Broadband Development Grant Program, which was designed to help local rural leaders build high-speed internet infrastructure

The fiscal year 2018 budget allocated $3 million to fund broadband connectivity for rural and/or high poverty schools and libraries in need of internet connections. This $3 million investment has allowed greater amounts of federal funding for these projects to be drawn down from the Federal Communications Commission.

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