Kingman Wins!

   The latest (and we hope, last) update on the NAFTA Highway is that the trans-canyon route, extending I-17 northward from Flagstaff, has been scrapped in favor of the more economical and hard-lobbied US 93 option through Kingman. The ADOT I-17 Extension Feasibility Survey was completed at the end of June. This report recommended against the trans-canyon proposal. The reasons were largely economic. The I-17 Extension route was estimated to run between $1.04 billion and $2.1 billion, compared to the $835 million to $1.07 billion price tag to complete the work through Kingman. In addition, ADOT recognized that the logistical hassles and negative environmental impacts of trying to build a superhighway across the fragile lands of the Colorado Plateau would be great.

   Many people feel that the main reason the Kingman alternative seems more attractive is due in large part to the unified lobbying effort of that town. They wanted this road from the beginning and set out to get it. There was no opposition. Northern Arizona, on the other hand, was divided. Environmentalists and many business owners fought the idea, while other businesses, truckers and several city councils largely supported it. Enough opposition was raised that the Kingman faction was stronger. Our thanks to the Grand Canyon Trust and other people who put up the good fight. Had they not, things might have gone differently.

Christa Sadler