PHOENIX – On Wednesday, the Arizona House Transportation Committee passed Rep. David Cook’s Tonto Basin Bridge bill, HB2506. The bill passed unanimously.
Cook’s bill appropriates $15,000,000 from the State General Fund in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 to the Department of Transportation to construct a bridge in the Tonto Basin at the Bar X Crossing in Gila County.
After a family’s vehicle was trapped and three children in it were swept away in the rain swollen creek in November 2019, the public outcry and demand for a bridge could not be ignored. After Cook introduced his bill on December 17, 2019, Governor Doug Ducey finally sent a letter in January 2020 to the U.S. Department of Transportation requesting prioritize funding for the bridge.
“We can always find money to respond when a tragedy occurs, but not keep tragedies from occurring. After the children were swept away in the roaring Tonto Creek, we brought in several hundred volunteer searchers, first responders, helicopters, bloodhounds, etc. However it seems that government can never find the money and willpower to fix a known problem before a tragedy occurs,” said Rep. Bob Thorpe. “This was an avoidable tragedy.”
According to the Governor’s Office, in December 2019, President Trump signed Fiscal Year 2020 spending bills that included $1 billion for the BUILD Grant program.