In Mesa, we’ve seen the extraordinary impact that infrastructure investment can have on our local economy. Since the Valley Metro Rail first opened in 2008, the Phoenix Metropolitan area saw over $11 billion in development along the light rail route and the creation of over 50 million square feet of new housing, office, and retail space while downtown Mesa welcomed a state of the art Arizona State University lab center. Mesa is proof that investment in infrastructure is critical to strengthening local economies.
As we head into the final week of July, it’s vital that our Congressional delegation vote to advance the bipartisan infrastructure framework and commit real investment in transportation infrastructure.
Spearheaded by Senator Sinema and a bipartisan coalition of Senators, the package is the largest investment in our nation's infrastructure in nearly a century and will drastically improve our country’s transportation, water infrastructure, electric grids and more.
By delivering $109 billion for roads and bridges, the deal will allow Arizona to finally make major improvements to our 132 bridges and 3,100 miles of highway in poor condition. This generational investment will boost our local economy, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen connections between our cities and towns.
Passing the bipartisan infrastructure framework will be transformative for Arizona. The bill would deliver $49 billion in public transit investment and allow us to expand the Metro Valley Rail system, improve and expand bus services, and connect more Arizonans to jobs and essential services.
The infrastructure framework will also invest $66 billion in our nation’s passenger and freight rail. With these funds, Arizona will finally be able to resume rail service between our largest cities for the first time since the mid 1990s. Reliable passenger rail service between Phoenix and Tucson, our state’s major economic hubs, will increase travel options for millions of Arizonans and be an economic driver for the region.
While investing in transportation infrastructure is key, the bipartisan infrastructure framework goes beyond investing in physical infrastructure and provides Arizona with the resources it needs to succeed in a digital economy. This past year has made it clear, access to the internet is essential for small businesses to be competitive in the 21st century global economy.
Furthermore, It’s unacceptable that 14% of Arizonans live in areas where there is no reliable broadband infrastructure in 2021. The Senate must advance the bipartisan infrastructure deal that will make critical investments in broadband infrastructure and bring universal, reliable, high-speed, and affordable coverage to every community in our nation.
We need the bipartisan infrastructure package to put us on the right path. My city and others like it desperately need robust investment in transportation infrastructure, expanded broadband, and additional investments that will keep us competitive in the global economy. I urge Senators Sinema and Kelly to advance the bipartisan infrastructure framework and deliver the infrastructure investments Arizona needs to support our local economies.
John Giles is the mayor of Mesa.