May 7, 2021

State infrastructure, migrants march, vaccine hesitancy

Plus, an update on major roadway projects in southern Arizona

Early priorities emerging from the Biden administration include passing a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. The latest report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a C-. Broken down by state, Arizona received a C grade overall. Its roadways scored a D+. For insight into how the state assesses its transportation needs, we turned to Ted Maxwell, the newest member of the Arizona State Transportation Board. Maxwell discussed the board’s priorities and how the public can offer input.

One of Tucson’s long-planned road projects is entering the home stretch. Crews working on the Broadway Boulevard widening project recently began laying asphalt on newly completed sections of the road. As Transportation Department Spokesperson Michael Graham explained to Lorraine Rivera, prior to laying asphalt, crews had to install 19-miles worth of new piping that will improve storm drainage. He also told Rivera that remaining work to the surface will go faster and he expects construction will wrap by the end of 2021. Graham also described other improvements the project will bring to the three-mile stretch of Broadway.

Construction of a major transportation hub in Nogales, Arizona is nearly complete. State Route 189 links the Mariposa Port of Entry to Interstate 19. It’s a $134 million project that’s projected to finish under budget and ahead of schedule. The project involves two new flyover ramps that will allow commercial traffic to access I-19 from State Route 189 with more ease. As we discussed with Jaime Chamberlain of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, the new ramps and improvements are a game changer for cross-border trade.

To mark President Biden’s 100th day in office, migrants and asylum seekers staged a march to call attention to his promise to reform immigration in the United States. Their demonstration to raise awareness about policies that have prevented them from making their case for political asylum in the country’s interior was also attended by members of various non-governmental organizations that have provided shelter and legal aid. Tony Paniagua spoke to migrants and advocates about steps they would like to see the Biden administration take immediately.

Efforts to vaccinate Arizonans against COVID-19 are ongoing but the pace is slowing. The number of doses administered each day is down from peaks seen in late March and early April. Similar trends nationwide are cause for concern among some experts who are worried that hesitancy could delay the country from reaching herd immunity. We discussed reasons why some are hesitant and what the science says with University of Arizona immunologist Michael Johnson.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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