Vol. XVIII, No. 4
Summer, 1980

Of Water, Land and Air

Pima County, as the largest and fastest-growing urban area in Southern Arizona, faces a fistful of problems in the 1980s as the area remains among the Sunbelt's more magnetic attractions.

Thousands and thousands of Americans, drawn by our mild and virtually snow-free winters, our hot but dry summers and our casual, more leisurely lifestyle, continue to pour into Southern Arizona at an enormous clip. Tucson, still a sleepy little town in many respects as late as 1960, today is exploding into a major city.

Today, we are a mecca. As is the case with any area that experiences such sudden and dramatic growth, Pima County has accelerated concerns: first, that the area have enough water to accommodate everyone who wants to make Arizona home in the decades ahead; second, that we are able to sufficiently address the growing problem of traffic; and third, that we are able to sufficiently address the growing aviation traffic in Southern Arizona skies. I want to take some of the limited space here to discuss these three concerns and to try and offer an update on each one.

Central Arizona Project

There has been no single action by the Congress that has been more a part of my life since coming to Washington, than the Central Arizona Project.

For decades, this water project has stood as the single most important piece of federal legislation ever sought by Arizona's congressional delegation.

To fully grasp just how long the idea of the CAP has been in the Arizona mind, one must remember that the late Carl Hayden, who was born during the Administration of Ulysses S. Grant, came to Congress in the first year of Statehood in 1912 and worked all his public career on some version of the CAP.

The late Senator Henry Ashurst worked on the CAP. So did former Senator Paul Fannin. So did former Senate Majority Leader Ernest MacFarland. So did former Congressman Stewart Udall. And so did Barry Goldwater and John Rhodes.

As Chairman of the House Interior Committee, I am

particularly proud to be able to play a pivotal role in seeing that the CAP stays on schedule and on target, and that it does what it was originally conceived to do: provide water for a growing central and Southern Arizona.

The CAP is one of America's largest public water projects. Water from the Colorado River will run through mammoth pipe out of the Colorado River Valley and through river-sized aqueducts around Phoenix and south to San Xavier. The first water should reach the Tucson area by the year 1987. Accompanying it will have been a lot of congressional sweat and tears and years of hard, difficult debate, court decisions, and compromises.

The CAP is a reality. I intend to see that it remains so, because I'm not about to let years of difficult personal effort go down the drain. Southern Arizona needs that water.

Can You Get There From Here?

When the first automobiles arrived in Tucson, the City Council wondered if it was time to place a speed limit on the new contraptions. After all, one council member reported that some of the horseless carriages were going through the city at speeds approaching 15 miles per hour.

That long-forgotten council member might be astonished to learn that the speed, in many cases, hasn't changed a whole lot. There are parts of Tucson where, at certain times of the day, traffic in 1980 is reduced to that same speed that the early-day City Council considered excessive.

The automobile, the invention that made modern-day settlement of the West what it is today, has become a source of some exasperation in our urban centers. Engines and tempers both overheat as some of our roads strain to move far greater numbers of vehicles than anyone ever imagined.

In earlier years, Tucsonans opted for broad thoroughfares, as opposed freeways, and for a time, that worked. But few expected the population explosion that was around the corner. With the people


 
came more cars, and the city's streets have been hard-pressed to handle the load.

But there are steps that we can take to ease this situation.

One of those steps is to move forward with the extension of Kolb Road, across part of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, to give the city a much-sought north-south traffic route. This artery should greatly relieve several congested streets -- notably, East 29th and the Veterans Memorial interchange (Palo Verde Overpass), to name two.

The Kolb Road extension is an important project, and has required the cooperation of two levels of local government, the Pentagon, the command structrure at Davis-Monthan AFB, and money from the Congress.

I plan to help Tucson see this project to completion.

. . . And In The Air

When America moved into the 1950s, Americans moved from trains to airplanes and today, air travel remains a primary means of long-distance transport for millions of our citizens.

Just as the Southern Arizona climate has been a lure to people, it was an early lure for aviators. The weather and climate were, and are, ideally suited for aviation. Charles Lindbergh was among the early flyers who landed in Tucson. And when World War II came, Southern Arizona's landscape was dotted with training bases that turned out thousands of combat air crews.

Aviation's attraction to Southern Arizona has not diminished.

In the early years, there was little attention paid aviators or their airplanes. The airfields were distant from the city, the aircraft novel but few, and the countryside sparsely settled.

But today, the city has grown up next to the airport and to Davis-Monthan. The same population growth that has passed our primary means of ground trans-

portation has put more private aircraft into the skies. As Tucson grew, commercial air traffic increased. And while Davis-Monthan has fewer aircraft based there than in years past, it still services an increasing transient military traffic, and training flights from Luke and Williams Air Force Bases near Phoenix fly regularly over Southern Arizona.

In 1978, however, the tragic crash of an Air Force A7 jet near the University of Arizona campus, resulting in the deaths of two persons, brought our heightened air traffic into sharp, new focus.

Since 1978, a lot has happened.

First, the Arizona Air National Guard and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base both have agreed to move a substantial part of their traffic to Marana Air Park. Second, there are plans to move some small private aircraft operations from Tucson International Airport to Ryan Field, and third, there is an effort to ease the mix of private, military and commercial traffic to TIA, to better accommodate each of those interests.

A new weather warning radar will be installed at Tucson International Airport, and the Federal Aviation Administration is going ahead with installation of an Instrument Landing System at Ryan Field that will greatly increase that strip's capabilities.

The House of Representatives has tentatively okayed expansion of the Marana field, and Pinal County authorities and the Air Force are at work on a lease. The $12 million to $15 million needed for that work should be in the 1982 military budget. In the meantime, the Air Force will spend up to $500,000 for temporary facilities. Continued use of Marana will allow the Air Force and the Air Guard to divert much of their training activity away from population centers.

In short, the future of aviation in Southern Arizona has never looked better -- for all of us. I'm proud to have been able to help.


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