Sinema Highlights Arizona Infrastructure Priorities, Jobs, and COVID-19 Safety for Transportation Nominee

Jan 22, 2021

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema highlighted Arizona transportation and infrastructure priorities for U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg during this week’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing and questioned him on plans to strengthen Arizona’s infrastructure, create jobs, improve COVID-19 safety, and address the transportation needs of Tribal communities.
“Ensuring the Transportation Department supports and coordinates closely with local Arizona stakeholders will expand job opportunities and strengthen services from our largest cities to rural and tribal areas,” said Sinema.

Sinema’s top priority since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic has been working with local, state, and federal partners to keep Arizonans healthy and safe from the pandemic. Sinema has called for improvements to COVID-19 safety throughout the transportation system, including on airlines and airports. During the hearing, Sinema asked Buttigieg of his plans to address COVID-19 transportation safety.
Sinema highlighted that Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country, and the steady increase in population, jobs, and economic development opportunities put a strain on Arizona’s transportation infrastructure, including highways, bridges, airports, trains, and buses.
Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the country, but the public transportation infrastructure lags behind many similarly sized cities. Sinema asked Buttigieg for his commitment to work with her to advance transit priorities such as the Valley Metro Northwest Extension Phase II, which will allow for Arizona’s sustainable growth.
Sinema also highlighted Interstate 11, which will be an important corridor between the Mexican border, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Interstate 11’s link between Phoenix and Las Vegas, two of the largest cities in the country, will increase regional trade and commerce with Mexico and Canada and relieve congestion and air pollution in downtown Phoenix.
Additionally, Sinema stressed that the 22 Native American Tribes in Arizona have specific and unique transportation needs that the Department of Transportation must help address. Sinema highlighted the Tribal Transportation Program, which works to address the transportation needs of Tribal governments. Last year, Sinema partnered with Republican Senator John Thune to introduce the bipartisan Tribal Transportation Improvement Act, which requires the Department of Transportation and Department of the Interior to conduct a review of the Tribal Transportation Program, ensuring it improves and meets the needs of tribal communities in Arizona.
Sinema urged the need for bipartisan solutions to build and invest in Arizona’s infrastructure that would be consequential for regional, national, and international economic growth and success.