The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was awarded a $15.3 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant for the Inland Port Arizona (IPAZ) improvement project.
The BUILD grant is a transportation discretionary program which allows the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives.
The IPAZ project, located in Coolidge, clearly meets those objectives, with nearby truck and rail routes able to reach markets of over 65 million people within a day. Global shipping is accessible via ports in either coastal California or Mexico.
In July, Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema sent a letter DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao, advocating for the grant. In that letter, they explained, “IPAZ consists of approximately 2,700 acres of land within the city limits of Coolidge in Pinal County, Arizona and would house one of the largest manufacturing and distribution centers in Arizona. Anchored by Phoenix and Tucson, the IPAZ represents a unique opportunity…”
The Senators also cited regional benefits such as:
- Job growth
- Increased property value
- Private economic development
Nikola Motor Company expects to break ground on a large manufacturing plant within the IPAZ industrial park in 2020 with full production slated for late 2022. The manufacturing plant will build hydrogen-electric semi-trucks with fast fueling capabilities. These semi-trucks will have a range of 500-750 miles between fill ups and have zero emissions. Nikola Motor Company recently received a $1.7 million grant of its own from the U.S. Department of Energy for research and development of its fuel cell membrane electrode assembly.
Pinal County plans to use the BUILD grant funds to develop roadway infrastructure for the IPAZ project, which will also support development of the Nikola project.
“I am pleased that the U.S Department of Transportation has awarded a BUILD grant for Inland Port. Pinal County has a robust and growing economy, with a strong business climate, and this award serves as further recognition that Pinal County is a great place to do business,” Pinal County Board Chairman Mike Goodman stated. “We greatly appreciate the support and efforts of our Congressional Delegation, especially Senators McSally and Sinema, and Congressmen Gosar and O’Halleran, and we look forward to further development of the Inland Port.”
Supervisor Pete Rios agreed, “I am delighted that Inland Port in my district has been selected for a BUILD grant. Inland Port will produce thousands of jobs in the area from such projects as the Nikola Motor Company’s construction of a large manufacturing facility to build hydrogen-electric semi-trucks, which alone is expected to produce more than 3,500 jobs and more than $1 billion in total economic output.”
An additional BUILD grant for $24 million was awarded to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport for its Northside Rail Expansion. This project will allow for the expansion and readiness of the Air National Guard at the airport.