It’s official: the City will receive $2.7 million in federal funds for a major project in its plan to revitalize the Heritage District.
The funding, requested by U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-1, will be used to help construct a pedestrian bridge across the Union Pacific railroad tracks to connect both ends of North Maricopa Road. The cost is estimated at $3.5 million.
The House Appropriations Committee completed approval July 1 of the 12 bills that fund the federal government each year, preparing for Fiscal Year 2023. The legislation included 13 O’Halleran Community Project Funding Requests.
The City’s revitalization project in the historic downtown area will include streets beautification, more street lighting and safety improvements. The ADA-compliant pedestrian bridge, which would rise between the State Route 347 overpass and the old water tower, would feature elevators at both ends to allow for wheelchair and bicycle access.
“This is a good pickup for Maricopa, as giving our residents a safe way to cross the tracks and help with walking/biking availability in the area is important,” said Interim Mayor Vincent Manfredi.
The bridge will provide a safer way for Maricopa High School students and pedestrians who must otherwise walk a half-mile over the overpass, which sees traffic of nearly 60,000 vehicles per day, according to the City.
“Congressman O’Halleran has always fought to make our community safer and this is yet another example of his commitment to Maricopa and I commend him for his work on this critical infrastructure project,” former Mayor Christian Price said in a statement.
The City budgeted funds in its 2022-23 budget to match the federal funds it had anticipated receiving, according to Benjamin Bitter, deputy city manager.
He said the project is under review by the Union Pacific Railroad, a process that could take up to a year. On completion of the review the City will make any required adjustments to its plans, and then move toward construction.
The project will move forward in the 2022-2023 fiscal year if the UPRR approvals are received in a timely manner, Bitter said.
O’Halleran, Maricopa’s congressional representative, also requested and received even more funding for another local project.
A $2.8 million earmark will go to the Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation District for a project to decouple existing groundwater infrastructure from the Santa Rosa Canal. The work will improve the quality of water delivered to the Ak-Chin Indian Community yet still allow groundwater resources to be delivered throughout the irrigation district.
“With our new community project funding request system, (Congress) members hear directly from cities, towns, and tribes in our districts about what is needed and what’s been overlooked,” O’Halleran said in a news release. “I know that the funding and resources I’ve secured in this package will make a real difference in rural and tribal Arizona.”
Disclosure: Vincent Manfredi is co-owner of InMaricopa.