SR 189 project moves full steam ahead

As of Friday June 15, a major trade route connecting Arizona and Mexico is receiving necessary attention.

State Route 189 is a 3.75-mile stretch of Nogales Highway, which houses the Mariposa Port of Entry. This port alone accounts for more than $8 billion in exports and $7.2 billion in imports. The 100,000 Arizona jobs the port provides are just the beginning of the benefits we receive in our state alone.

Governor Ducey touted the port’s vital economic contributions and its future expansion  at the Arizona-Mexico Commision last week.

In 2014, the federal government gave $225 million to expand the Mariposa Port of Entry. This allowed more commercial vehicles to enter the state, , bringing the majority of the country’s produce in the winter season, among other imports.

Through collaborative efforts between state leaders and federal officials, Nogales, and Santa Cruz County, impactful work will begin in less than a year’s time on SR 189 to continue supporting this essential point of revenue.

The goals of the dramatic construction that will take place in the coming year are to merge the northbound and southbound lanes of SR 189 (Mariposa Road) with interstate 19 through connecting flyovers.

Although an earlier 5-year plan was proposed and approved to accomplish similar goals, the funding only covered the first phase of the construction plan. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Five Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program, which supports the SR 189 project, is endorsed by Arizona State Transportation Board and will be a fully funded $134 million project.

Nogales and Santa Cruz County have generously donated more than half their revenue from overweight truck permits towards this effort. These permits are required for trucks that transport loads exceeding 80,000 pounds. Governor Doug Ducey signed into law the ability to share revenue from one group to another.

Arizona also received a $25 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, which will allow ADOT to start a 5-year construction plan in 2019, rather than the previously estimated 2021 start date.

ADOT Director John Halikowski expressed his gratitude, “Thanks to the leadership and vision of Governor Doug Ducey, state lawmakers, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, members of Congress and leaders in Nogales and Santa Cruz County, we will be able to move forward with all of these improvements that are critical to Arizona’s economy.” He further noted,  “A State Route 189 that can better support international trade will make Nogales, Santa Cruz County and Arizona better places to live and do business.”

Completing the project all at once, rather than in phases, will ultimately save taxpayers $13 million because of process efficiencies.

Morgan Carr

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