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Mayor Romero testifies about Tucson's use of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds

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Mayor Romero testifies about Tucson's use of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds

TUCSON (KVOA) - Tucson Mayor Regina Romero testified Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

The hearing allows lawmakers to look at how state and local governments are implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).  

"The direct funding to cities is extremely important because cities , a little bit different than state agencies, because we have the capacity and we have the plans to institute the resiliency and climate adaptation strategies that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the mayor said.

Arizona has received billions of dollars to beef up infrastructure since President Biden signed the BIL into law last November.

Arizona will receive more than $13 million to address PFAS, forever chemicals, in our groundwater supply.

"We have to literally take our aquifer water and remediate it from PFAS and that is what has been taking our funds," said Romero. "We spend a million dollars a year, we spent almost $50 million remediating PFAS."

Arizona will also receive money under the PROTECT PROGRAM to protect infrastructure from extreme weather events like wildfires.

Arizona will receive five billion dollars for highway projects. Sun Tran is receiving more than $100 million.

And more than $27 million will fund electric vehicle chargers along designated highways.

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly serves on the committee and discussed widening parts of Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix.

"It goes down to two lanes for 25 miles. Everyday there's an accident that causes a backup in excess of an hour," Kelly said.

The senator said the Arizona Department of Transportation applied for a Mega Projects Grant in the BIL to widen that stretch of I-10.

"The delay that accidents on that stretch of I-10 cause, the flow of goods and services between our cities, the first and second largest cities in the state, are very cumbersome," Mayor Romero said. 

The mayor added they are looking at Amtrak connecting the two cities.

The mayor said the BIL is transformative.

"It has allowed the city of Tucson and I as mayor to plan and make transformative investments and change the historically disinvested neighborhoods in our area in one generation."

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