Arizona Budget Would Fund I-17 Expansion With Controversial Vehicle Fee

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, January 21, 2019 - 12:34pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 9:38am
Jackie Hai/KJZZ
Cars and trucks on Interstate 17.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget includes $130 million, dispersed over three years, to expand Interstate 17.

The interstate carries almost 40,000 cars a day between northern Arizona and the Valley, but a single accident can add hours to the commute.

The Arizona Department of Transportation currently has $193 million dedicated to the project, which covers gated “flex-lanes” between Black Canyon City and Sunset Point and seven miles of a third southbound lane.

The gates on the flex-lanes can be used to provide four lanes in the direction with the greatest need.

"The existing projects do not have sufficient funding to expand I-17 from two lanes to three for all northbound and southbound traffic between Black Canyon City and Anthem," the budget reads.

The proposed budget provides the resources needed to complete the southbound third lane and completely fund the addition of a northbound third lane.

“It would make the full project happen by, we estimate, 2023,” said Steve Elliot, ADOT spokesman.

If the legislature approves Ducey’s budget, the money for the expansion would come from a controversial $32 car registration fee.

The first bill introduced to the current legislative session was a proposal to repeal that fee.

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