On June 13, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey convened a day-long workshop on implementing the historic bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Led by Chief Operations Officer and Governor Ducey’s designated Infrastructure Coordinator Sarah Webber, the Arizona IIJA Task Force is a team of Arizona agency heads, technical and subject matter experts and other critical players that work to enhance collaboration, optimize investments and track performance related to IIJA in Arizona. The gathering brought together state agencies, federal leaders, and local, tribal, and private sector leaders to discuss the opportunities afforded from the largest investment in American infrastructure in nearly a century.
Participants came from across the state to discuss broadband, transportation, water, alternative fuel infrastructure, Arizona’s Healthy Forests initiative, and more. Local and tribal leaders discussed with state officials the opportunities, priorities, and challenges ahead of the state as the “all hands on deck” effort begins to implement IIJA. An overarching theme throughout the discussions was the goal to develop the next generation of infrastructure leaders in Arizona.
“In the last seven years, Arizona has made significant investments in broadband expansion, energy grid resilience, and more infrastructure improvements. Especially throughout the pandemic, we utilized federal and state funds to continue to build on Arizona’s economic resiliency.”Governor Doug Ducey
Emerging as key opportunities were the ability of state agency and state-local partnerships to develop and deepen, the importance of engaging and partnering with tribal leaders, and the need to take a long-term view of the implementation of IIJA through all five years and beyond. Participants were reminded of the “why” – why each is called to state and local service and how their work impacts the communities they serve.
As in other such gatherings, workforce was identified as a key challenge. Participants discussed the opportunities possible from expanded electric vehicle charging infrastructure, road and bridge improvements, broadband accessibility and affordability, and investments in key priorities such as healthy forests and cybersecurity; yet each acknowledged that building up the state and private sector workforce to accomplish these priorities would take a multifaceted approach.
The Task Force will continue to lead efforts integrating a whole of government approach to implementing IIJA, and it is actively participating in best practice gathering from across the country to support implementation efforts in Arizona.