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Arizona, Nevada transportation officials study Phoenix-Las Vegas interstate

The Arizona Department of Transportation hosted a public meeting Tuesday night about a proposed new interstate. The project aims to improve infrastructure in the region, and potentially across the continent. 

Anyone who has driven between Phoenix and Las Vegas knows the path can be trying and sometimes slow, mostly along state routes. This summer, the Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation began a two year, $2.5 million joint study on the feasibility of what they’re calling Interstate 11.

Phoenix and Las Vegas are the two largest metropolitan areas in the country not linked by an interstate highway," said Matt Benson, spokesman for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, an advocate of the project.

“She believes that I-11 is going to spur economic development in the region, and speed the transportation of goods, services, and people between these two major mountain west cities,” Benson said.

The project has been talked about for a long time, but only been pursued seriously for the last few years. Damon Hodge of the Nevada DOT said he's encountered some skeptics about the project, but that a lot of people are excited, not just about a better Phoenix-Vegas commute, "but also, the potential economic benefits not just for the two cities, but for the cities, towns, and municipalities that lie along the path," Hodge said.

"And going even further than that, the possibilities of extending this corridor all the way up to Canada and all the way down south to Mexico,” Hodge siad.

Benson said that was the eventual goal, "so we can get goods and services from Mexico through our ports of entry, into Arizona, and then to all points north of there throughout the country. We want Arizona to be the hub, and the only way you’re going to do that is by having effective transportation to get those goods from the border all the way to the marketplace across the country.”

Funding for the project has yet to be identified.