Feds Could Approve Vegas-Phoenix Link This Week | News
LAS VEGAS -- The federal Transportation Jobs Bill expected to be approved later this week includes Interstate 11, which would better link Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The two-year transportation bill would restore millions of miles of worn roadways, railways and bridges.
In a statement, Sen. Harry Reid said that by connecting two of the largest cities in the southwestern U.S. would create jobs, increase commerce and boost tourism to Nevada.
"For years, I have worked with local stakeholders to make Interstate 11 a reality," he said. "I fought long and hard to get this provision included in the transportation bill and I am pleased the House agreed to keep my Senate provision."
Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce CEO Kristin McMillan said connecting the two cities would allow Las Vegas to transform into a distribution hub.
"There's momentum at this point, and we're in the middle of redefining our economic diversification efforts within the state of Nevada," she said. "We will have a lot of support for this."
There's also the potential to extend the highway north toward Canada and south to the Mexico border.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Interstate 11 would be "a significant step in continuing to foster economic development and tourism, build stronger transportation infrastructure for the Intermountain West and support national and international trade."
The governor's office said Phoenix and Las Vegas remain the largest U.S. cities not linked by an interstate highway corridor.
The combined population of Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Reno was less than 700,000 when the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was enacted.
Their combined population currently is 8 million and expected to keep growing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.