A public meeting Thursday brought up a lot of questions and concerns about the proposed Sonoran Corridor but answers are still a long way off.
Transportation officials are looking for a 2,000-foot-wide path for a corridor that would connect Interstates 19 and 10 South of Tucson International Airport. Six factors will determine the route: anticipated growth, mobility, system linkages, economic benefits, environment and constructability.
At Thursday's meeting in Tucson with the Arizona Department of Transportation and consultant WSP, concerns were raised over how the study is being funded and where funding for future work will come from. About 120 people attended.
The initial study is funded by $3.5 million from the Pima Association of Governments, but there are no sources of funding for further studies or final project construction at this time, said Carlos Lopez, project manager with ADOT.
Attendees also were concerned about the effect a potential freeway would have on residential and commercial areas.
Tremaine Wilson from the Federal Highway Administration said the broad study under way would not indicate at this point which homes or business would be lost to a potential freeway. But Lopez said Pima Mine Road at the northern border of Sahuarita was removed from an initial list of 10 sites because of effects on residential, railroads and utility infrastructure.
Two of the three alternative routes chosen would connect at I-19 just South of El Toro Road; a third would connect at the San Xavier District about two miles North of Pima Mine Road.
There is support from the San Xavier District and Tohono O’odham Nation, but tribal landowners in the path of the corridor would have to consent, Lopez said.
A draft of the study will be completed in winter 2020, followed by another public hearing and a final draft in spring 2020, with a single recommended corridor.
Public comments can be submitted to ADOT through April 7 by email at email@example.com, phone at 855-712-8530 or mail at Sonoran Corridor Tier 1 EIS Study Team, c/o Joanna Bradley, 1221 S. Second Ave., Mail Drop T100, Tucson, AZ 85713.