Stop CANAMEX, Stop the Intermountain West Corridor and I-11! Stop the Sun Corridor! Stop the 202!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Highway to hell? CANAMEX, Loop 202, and the Tar Sands

Correction: The image of the map that says "House-Senate Transportation Conference Map-21" does not come from the MAP-21 legislation.  The MAP-21 legislation does not appear to reference CANAMEX, trade corridors, nor NAFTA.  My apologies for the misinformation.

printable version: pdf

Infrastructural projects such as highways, mines, pipelines, etc., are detrimental to the environment and health, and often lead to displacement, with disproportionately damaging effects on indigenous people.  This is what connects Arizona’s proposed Loop 202 Extension, aka South Mountain Freeway, with the Tar Sands (or Oil Sands) in Alberta, Canada.  The Loop 202 Extension, an 8-lane freeway, would displace residents in the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) and elsewhere, and affects South Mountain, a sacred site.  It would also bring more traffic and pollution to the area.  In much the same way, the Tar Sands and the associated infrastructure such as the Keystone XL Pipeline that is getting so much press lately due to so many protesters (of which hundreds have been arrested[i]) brings the same kinds of ill effects, though worse.  To top it off, the Loop 202 is part of the Sun Corridor, a “megapolitan” or “mega-region” connecting Tucson and Phoenix (and perhaps Prescott and Nogales, AZ). And this happens to be part of the CANAMEX Corridor[ii], which links Alberta, Canada (where the Tar Sands are) with Guaymas (and/or Punta Colonet) in Mexico, running through Arizona and four other states of the U.S.  The Sun Corridor and CANAMEX already exist, utilizing existing freeways and rails, though they will not be considered completed without growth, expansion, and development--unless it’s stopped.

Whereas the Keystone XL Pipeline is actual piping that would carry the tar-sands bitumen from the Tar Sands through the U.S. to Texas, the CANAMEX Corridor (not to be confused with companies with the name Canamex) is a transportation route facilitating international trade.  Alberta claims to have initiated CANAMEX in the early 1990’s[iii] likely due in much part to the fact that U.S. businesses supply equipment, parts, and services for their Tar Sands projects.”[iv]  We can assume that some of these items also come from Mexico and/or Asia, whom as we know, pay much lower wages, which has meant outsourcing of U.S. jobs. More significantly, the Arizona-Mexico Commission also claims credit for CANAMEX.[v] They discuss how the CANAMEX Corridor serves to facilitate the trade laid out by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), but trade with Asia has also been emphasized.[vi]  You may have heard of “NAFTA Superhighways” as part of a conspiracy theory in the interest of a North American Union with a central government, but these NAFTA trade corridors are not theories, but are discussed, if quietly, by official state institutions.[vii]  For example, CANAMEX is listed as a Program on the ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) Systems and Regional Planning website[viii] and promoted in a recent edition of the Maricopa Association of Government’s (MAG) newsletter.[ix]


Is the Loop 202 Extension part of the CANAMEX Corridor?  
To be accurate, the Loop 202 Extension/South Mountain Freeway has been in the works for longer than CANAMEX, and ADOT insists that it is not part of CANAMEX.[x]  However, at this point, it is highly likely that any freeway development within the Sun Corridor is meant to facilitate international trade.  ADOT claims, “the CANAMEX corridor in Maricopa County takes trucks from I-10 south of the Valley across I-8 to State Route 85, avoiding the metro-Phoenix area.”  This information, however, doesn’t match other details on CANAMEX’s route through Arizona.

Although over time, the routes included in maps of the CANAMEX Corridor have changed slightly, ADOT’s information has to do with the route they recommended in a Resolution in 2001.[xi]  Back then, there had been no good news for at least seven years that funding would be available for the Loop 202 extension.[xii]  At this point their information seems especially, and perhaps intentionally, out-of-date.  For example, these routes would bring CANAMEX outside of the Sun Corridor area, whereas the Sun Corridor is said to be part of CANAMEX.[xiii]  According to the CANAMEX wikipedia page there are discrepancies about the route, but none of it mentions I-8 nor Route 85. “The official designation in Arizona is Interstate 10 to U.S. Route 93 at Phoenix. However, US 93 does not enter Phoenix or connect with I-10. US 93 currently terminates at Wickenburg northwest of Phoenix. To make this connection currently requires driving U.S. Route 60, a surface street through the western suburbs of Phoenix not compliant with the standards established by the treaty. The chosen alternative for resolution will complete a compliant connection between Wickenburg and Phoenix via an upgrade and extension to Arizona State Route 303.[xiv]


The proximity of the connection between where the Route 303 and the Loop 202 Extension connect with the I-10 makes it pretty clear that the Loop 202 extension would serve to facilitate CANAMEX freight transportation.  An Arizona Republic article reports, “Melanie Pai, president and one of the founders of Protecting Arizona's Resources and Children (PARC), said that the official route wouldn't necessarily be the one followed. That would especially be true for vehicles with business or facilities within Phoenix.  The proposed route is lengthy and anyone who has a stop in Phoenix will be using (the South Mountain Freeway) as an alternative,’ Pai said. ‘Two of the trucking companies, Swift and Knight, have facilities located just on the other side of (South Mountain). It's a shorter route.’”[xv]

There may or may not be a definite official CANAMEX route, but in urban areas, such as this megapolitan-to-be Sun Corridor region, which is part of the CANAMEX Corridor, general development and expansion of infrastructure such as highways, if they have their way, will be required for this trade traffic.  There is no question that CANAMEX is part of the state and county planning for transportation.[xvi]  It’s worth noting that MAG’s website highlights the South Mountain Freeway as a priority project.[xvii]  Mary Rose Wilcox, who serves on MAG’s Regional Council, up until recently was also part of the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC)[xviii] and has been an open proponent of the South Mountain Freeway cutting through GRIC.  The relationship between AMC, ADOT, and other groups is significant, as will be explained below.  The bottom line is that the Loop 202’s location is crucial in terms of the expected growth, development, and needs due to increased international freight traffic, whether or not it is part of the official route.  If for some reason it is not seen as important for implementation of CANAMEX efficiency, then it will be de-prioritized.  But either way, opposition to Loop 202, not being a not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) approach, can find many reasons to oppose CANAMEX.

Public-Private Partnerships Push CANAMEX: Toll Roads Likely?

Recently, Joey Perez of Pangea, a development corporation whose interest is in the Loop 202 being built through GRIC land, justified their position arguing that CANAMEX is inevitable because it is mandated by NAFTA, and therefore to save the mountain, the extension should be built on the reservation.[xix]  Although he and Pangea stand to make some money from this freeway and associated development, they’re not necessarily one of the big players.  The big players aren’t even necessarily U.S government officials who are trying to enforce NAFTA.  It seems that although some money may have been allotted for NAFTA highways recently (MAP-21)[xx], the majority of the funding is expected to come from private sources.  In fact, the CANAMEX website stated, “Organizationally the development of the Corridor is advanced through a multi-state coalition including public and private sector representatives selected by the Governors of the five states.”[xxi]  This is where public-private partnerships (P3) come in.  Following a link to a P3 (or PPP) Toolkit from the Federal Highway Administration website,[xxii] you find this description: “In PPPs, a government agency typically contracts with a private company to renovate, build, operate, maintain, manage or finance a facility...  Though PPPs are not optimal for many transportation projects, they have been shown to reduce upfront public costs through accelerated or more efficient project delivery. PPPs don’t create new money but instead leverage private sector financial and other resources to develop infrastructure. In the end, a source of revenue such as tolls or other public revenue still is required to pay back the private investment” (my emphasis).[xxiii] 

The Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) is a public-private partnership, a non-profit organization[xxiv] that is said to be the godfather of CANAMEX by Jim Kolbe- and he would know.[xxv]  Arizona Governor Brewer who is a chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission appointed Jim Kolbe as the chair of the Arizona Governor’s CANAMEX Task Force and is Arizona’s private sector designate to the multi-state CANAMEX coalition[xxvi] (unless the coalition is defunct?).[xxvii]  Not unrelated is the fact that, while a member of the House of Representatives, Kolbe voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline.[xxviii]  While it is unclear what happened to the CANAMEX Coalition ( redirects to the ADOT website), earlier this year, another group popped up in the interest of Arizona’s relationship with CANAMEX.  “In February 2012, Brewer asked that ADOT lead the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance... ADOT, in collaboration with the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Arizona Commerce Authority, will bring together public and private sector partners to assess opportunities for Arizona to pursue investments in trade corridors such as the newly-designated Interstate 11, and to explore enhancements to border infrastructure.”[xxix]  The Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA) is co-chaired by AMC’s Kolbe and ADOT Director John Halikowski (who is also the Co-Chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Ports Committee of AMC). There is no question that this is about CANAMEX, considering AMC’s relationship to this corridor, in addition to I-11 (connecting Las Vegas and Phoenix) being part of CANAMEX.[xxx]  More intriguing connections will be illustrated later.

Arizona-Mexico Commission is not free of controversy.[xxxi]  Back in 2008, some legislators attempted (but failed) to push AMC and other Public-Private Partnerships (P3) to provide transparency[xxxii] due in part to Governor of Arizona and chair of AMC at the time, Janet Napolitano’s secrecy about AMC’s dealings.  The National Conference of State Legislatures currently lists
Arizona as a state with “broad enabling legislation” for P3’s, with no legislative oversight.[xxxiii]  Texas had problems with P3’s during their struggle with the Trans-Texas Corridor.[xxxiv]  Texans had no say in the Corridor which would have been funded and operated (with tolls) by a Spanish Consortium.[xxxv]  Texas citizens celebrated a victory when the Corridor was cancelled, although there were suspicions that it would continue under a different name.  Essentially organization is taking place to facilitate trade and secure private funding to provide the necessary infrastructure.  Here in Arizona, who wants or even knows about the CANAMEX Corridor?  It’s not your average resident.

Importantly, according to the minutes the July 25, 2012 MAG meeting, “Gail Lewis, Director of the Office of P3 Initiatives and International Affairs of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), reported on the Arizona Transportation & Trade Corridor Alliance... Ms. Lewis stated that the Alliance is heavily private sector and includes representatives from APL, Avnet, UPS, BNSF, W. L. Gore, port authorities, growers and brokers, Mexican manufacturers, Arizona Trucking Association, Sky Harbor Airport, and several of the state’s councils of governments and metropolitan planning organizations..Ms. Lewis stated that the new federal transportation legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)... She said that it requires that state departments of transportation develop a freight plan and suggests that each state have a freight advisory committee. Ms. Lewis stated that the Alliance fills the federal requirements, which give the Alliance a set of substantive responsibilities..”[xxxvi] (my emphasis).  Gail Lewis used to be on the board of the AMC,[xxxvii] and did her presentation just after AMC did theirs at the same meeting.[xxxviii]  Arizona Commerce Authority, also part of the TTCA, is another private pro-CANAMEX organization headed by Jan Brewer.[xxxix]  There are a few other connections between AMC and state committees.[xl]

This image was promoted as part of MAP-21 but does not seem to be.  

It is difficult to tell just what this recently-passed MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) will bring.  MAP-21 provides resources for states’ ability to put P3’s in place.[xli] Last year,
John McGee, Executive Director for Planning and Policy for ADOT said that the Interstate 11 can’t be built without a P3, meaning that one of the most important pieces of the CANAMEX route in Arizona can’t happen without private funding.[xlii]  According to the Arizona Builders Exchange, MAP-21 officially designated and also provides funding for a study to build I-11.[xliii]  I-11 still requires a lot more funding in order to be built.  ADOT discusses potential P3’s on their website, including the I-11.[xliv]   ADOT has very recently discussed in a meeting the potential for P3s and tolling,[xlv] which can also be seen on the Interstate 11 Corridor Study FAQ page.[xlvi]  There doesn’t appear to be any current efforts to create a public-private partnership in effort to build Loop 202... yet.  Although we can probably expect pressure from the U.S. Government to build up CANAMEX, it appears that it can not happen without the government partnering with corporations--perhaps even foreign ones--who would only enter into this relationship if they stand to profit from it.  The Arizona-Mexico Commission is all too willing to facilitate P3s.   What are the interests of AMC, other public-private partnerships, and corporations?

The Ghost of the Security and Prosperity Partnership
Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), launched in 2005 as an extension of NAFTA,[xlvii] has everything to do with these various problems of infrastructure.  “The SPP calls for maximization of North American economic competitiveness in the face of growing exports from India and China; expedited means of resource (oil, natural gas, water, forest products) extraction; secure borders against ‘organized crime, international terrorism, and illegal migration’; standardized regulatory regimes for health, food safety, and the environment; integrated energy supply through a comprehensive resource security pact (primarily about ensuring that the US receives guaranteed flows of the oil in light of ‘Middle East insecurity and hostile Latin American regimes’); and coordination amongst defense forces... The SPP calls for a fivefold increase in tar sands production.”[xlviii]  It’s no surprise that the implementation of CANAMEX was a project of SPP.[xlix] It is worth noting that SPP sought to undermine labor laws and promote temporary worker programs as part of their intensification of “neoliberalism through an increased reliance on labor flexibility as a means of increasing profits.”  SPP is not an official treaty, rather “it is presented as a vague ‘dialogue based on shared values.’ Made operational through nineteen working groups that are outside the legislative process, the SPP has escaped any public debate.”[l]

SPP was announced dead in 2009.  However, it is worth researching the connections between SPP and other entities that are pushing CANAMEX and similar projects.  SPP was rather secretive, so it is hard to know who was involved and who is carrying on the neoliberal[li] project now.  It is interesting that Jim Kolbe of the AMC works for McLarty Associates, whose president, Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty III, “was a key figure in the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).”[lii]  McLarty is also on the Board of Directors of the Council of the Americas[liii], which was part of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) instituted by SPP in 2006.  The Origins of the NACC? “In January of 2006, the Council of the Americas and the North American Business Council issued a report titled, ‘Findings of the Public/Private Sector Dialogue on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,’ which called for the establishment of a ‘North American competitiveness council.’”[liv] Two members of the McLarty Associates Team co-authored that report.[lv]  Five UPS affiliates were also co-authors the “Findings...” report[lvi] and sponsored the event associated with the report[lvii] and became part of the NACC.  Recall that UPS is now part of the Arizona Transportation & Trade Corridor Alliance.[lviii] 

It is evident that SPP and associated entities have influenced the private sector in the interest of P3s.  From the “Findings...” report: “High-level attention from the private sector on the importance of North American cooperation is needed to establish a positive political profile for SPP. CEO-level engagement in this process is called for, participants said, and it is necessary for the private sector to communicate not only with governments but also with the public to help build greater understanding and support for a North American agenda... Strong, private sector-led initiatives resulting in regional transportation advancements are being put in place, initiated by local actors, with local interests... Transportation, it was observed, is fertile ground for public-private partnerships, but bureaucratic obstacles to the creation of cross-border infrastructure can be prohibitive of such efforts”[lix] (my emphasis). You might also be interested to know that McLarty is on the Board of Directors for Union Pacific Railroad, which stands to gain from the CANAMEX Corridor.[lx]  In addition, the North American Center for Trans-border Studies (NACTS) of Arizona State University that has done a lot of research on implementing CANAMEX,[lxi]  is a project of the Council of the Americas in addition to the North American SuperCorridor Coalition,[lxii] and has promoted[lxiii] and partnered[lxiv] with CANAMEX (and AMC[lxv]), and has multiple connections with SPP.[lxvi]  Further investigation would likely turn up more interesting connections with the CANAMEX agenda.

The Impacts (a Brief Summary)
Despite the fact that the Gila River Indian Community voted “No Build” on the freeway proposal (2012 and prior), some entities are still pushing for it.  “The on-reservation alignment will result in a loss of approximately 600 acres of tribal land, and the forced relocation of Akimel O’odham and Pee-Posh families. The off-reservation alignment would gouge a 40-story high, 200-yard wide cut into South Mountain, which is sacred to all O’odham and Pee-Posh.”[lxvii] According to the Gila River Against Loop 202 website, the main concerns are health, air quality, ground water, loss of land, and desecration of Muhadag Do’ag (aka South Mountain) and other sacred places.[lxviii]   Keep in mind that the Loop 202 is only a fraction of the infrastructural projects (roadways, pipelines, rail and more) in process and in planning stages. Other issues with freeways such as the South Mountain Freeway are contribution to urban heat island, noise and light pollution, and effects on local wildlife.  There are already major concerns about global warming and its impacts in Arizona.[lxix]  Aside from that, “Since the freeway-building boom in America after World War II, urban freeways have consistently proven themselves to be socially and economically harmful, as well as environmentally degrading. Urban freeways cut neighborhoods off from each other and block access to waterways and nature preserves; buildings around freeways quickly vacate and lose property value; and levels of coarse particulate matter... increase drastically, causing respiratory damage, heart attacks, and premature death, as well as environmental destruction such as soil nutrient depletion, farm crop damage, and loss of diversity in ecosystems.”[lxx]  


A report by the Center for Biological Diversity details the many potential and already existing problems due to trade corridors.  “Transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions account for 49 percent of the growth in total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the last 20 years, with freight trucks responsible for 19.1 percent of that growth. NAFTA-related truck transportation produces much of that air pollution. The byproducts from shipping trucks largely include nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter, which contribute to ozone concentrations and air pollution and can lead to serious human health and environmental problems.”[lxxi]

While the Loop 202 extension would primarily affect Akimel O’odham and Pee-Posh in GRIC, simultaneously Tohono O’odham and other indigenous communities are impacted by increased border security on the border with Mexico.  Harassment and violence on the part of Border Patrol, damage to the surrounding environment, increasing surveillance and check-points are just a few of the problems[lxxii] which eclipse the minor damage of foot traffic and litter caused by migrants.  The effects of the drug trade and human smuggling are also as bad as they are primarily because they’ve been criminalized.  Additionally, much of the migration is a direct result of NAFTA.  In fact, Operation Gate-Keeper (1994), which sought to increase border security near San Diego, was initiated because officials knew NAFTA would lead to increased migration due to loss of jobs in Mexico.[lxxiii] This and similar border security measures created a funnel effect, pushing migrants to more dangerous terrain and through indigenous border communities.

The Tar Sands project in Alberta, Canada means massive detriment to the environment, health, and multiple indigenous communities.  We must consider the problems involved in the project itself and the surrounding geographical area, then the impacts of the pipelines, in addition to the impacts of our society’s dependence on oil. “Oil Sands projects are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution in Canada.”[lxxiv]  Additionally, “Oil sands extraction uses significant amounts of water (2-4.5 barrels per barrel of oil produced), which ends up in toxic tailings lagoons that have never been successfully reclaimed. An analysis using industry data estimated that these lagoons already leak over a billion gallons of contaminated water into the environment each year.”[lxxv] The traditional lands of indigenous communities of Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories are being destroyed for tar sands exploration and extraction.[lxxvi]  “A study by the Alberta Cancer Board confirmed that the people of Fort Chipewyan are experiencing higher than normal rates of cancer. Deformed fish, declining numbers of waterfowl and strange tasting water have added to the residents' concern.”[lxxvii]


There has been massive U.S. opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, including an action in September 2011, “A number of Native American and Native Canadian leaders were arrested for protesting the Keystone XL outside the White House. According to Debra White Plum, a Lakota activist, Indigenous peoples ‘... have thousands of ancient and historical cultural resources that would be destroyed across [their] treaty lands.’  They are also concerned about health and environmental issues.[lxxviii]  Several hundreds of people have been arrested protesting the pipeline.  Another primary concern of protesters is that, “A rupture in the Keystone XL pipeline could cause a BP style oil spill in America’s heartland, over the source of fresh drinking water for 2 million people. NASA’s top climate scientist says that fully developing the tar sands in Canada would mean ‘essentially game over’ for the climate.”[lxxix]

The economic relationship between the Tar Sands area, the U.S., and Mexico, in addition to international trade’s dependence on oil is what unites the CANAMEX Corridor and the Tar Sands.  It is one of several transportation corridors meant to fulfill goals set forth by NAFTA, joining together Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.  CANAMEX, and specifically the Sun Corridor are being promoted as a way to bring more economic prosperity to local regions.  However, even if the Sun Corridor will reach its expected population growth, it doesn’t mean the corridor will necessarily bring more jobs or even a demand for relatively more facilities.  What seems to be lost on many promoters of CANAMEX, or ignored, is that the conditions of NAFTA (and SPP) in terms of making money for big corporations, means that things will continue to get worse for workers.  It is readily acknowledged by Jim Kolbe that CANAMEX would facilitate trade with Asia.  We already know many U.S. workers who have lost their jobs to China, and even Mexico.[lxxx]  More Mexicans, many from indigenous communities, have lost their jobs or means of subsistence (i.e. land, which was privatized through NAFTA), and the jobs that are available pay very little. 

Root Force summarizes the situation this way, “By no coincidence, new infrastructure... is overwhelmingly slated for territories of indigenous or rural peoples. These territories hold two powerful attractions for modern colonialists, just as they always have.  First of all, Earth-based cultures tend to live in highly biodiverse areas, where there are still “resources” to be exploited (intact forests for lumber; intact land above oil or minerals; intact, undammed rivers). The second advantage is just as important: If members of traditional societies can be forced off their land by highways, dams or other such projects, they instantly become a cheap work force.”[lxxxi]

The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) took a dramatic stand against the imposition of NAFTA in 1994, for they knew that it would not bring prosperity to anyone but the rich.  From Loop 202 opposition, to Tar Sands protests, direct action against the Keystone XL Pipeline, and beyond, there is ongoing resistance.  Now that we have a better understanding of the forces behind CANAMEX, we are better equipped to continue the fight.

Join Us:

January 22, 2013, Tuesday, at ADOT
Meetings for CTOC will be held at the Arizona Department of Transportation, Auditorium, 206 South 17th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85007, at  4:00 p.m., unless otherwise stated.
Advance notice will be given if schedule changes occur. Other meeting locations to be announced at a later date.
January 2013 Calendar of Maricopa Association of Governments meetings:
Transportation Policy Committee 1/23/2013 Meeting
Date: 1/23/2013 @ 12:00 PM
Location: Saguaro Room, 2nd Floor
Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee 1/24/2013 Meeting
Date: 1/24/2013 @ 1:30 PM
Location: Saguaro Room, 2nd Floor

 “NAFTA trade corridors will be used to import labour and move equipment and goods to the tar sands.”
Their pamphlet says this: "AMC was instrumental in the development of the Canamex Corridor. This transportation corridor that stretches from the Mexican border at Nogales, Arizona to the Canadian border in Montana received its federal designation in 1996. It is the cornerstone for seamless and efficient transportation of goods, services, people
and information between Canada, Mexico and the United States."
see also: Jim Kolbe speaking about AMC and CANAMEX on video
[vi] “As the economy recovers, the recovery is largely going to be led by Asia, and we're going to see more and more goods coming back in, again, to the United States from Asia... There's no doubt that the CANAMEX Corridor will be a major part of Arizona's growing economy and as we begin to focus more and more of our attention on exports to Asia, Mexico, and the link between Mexico and Arizona and from Arizona to Asia is going to be increasingly important."
[vii]Arizona, as lead state of the multi-state coalition, applied for and received a $1 million planning grant under Section 118 National Corridor Planning and Development (NCPD) of TEA 21. These funds are being used to develop a comprehensive plan of the CANAMEX Corridor including strategies for addressing transportation deficits and other needs along the Corridor… The North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) created a preferential trade relationship between Canada, Mexico and the United States. A key component for successful NAFTA implementation is a seamless and efficient transportation network linking corridors of national significance, international gateways and economic hubs. This transportation system must provide for the high capacity, efficient and safe movement of goods, services, people and information between the three nations.
The states of Arizona, [ID, MN, NV, UT].., believe that cooperative actions are necessary to develop and operate the international trade corridor known as CANAMEX. The flow of trade within the CANAMEX Corridor will continue to increase as the objectives of the NAFTA and the Canada/United States Free Trade Agreement are realized over the next several years.”
[x] ADOT states, “It is not the intent of ADOT or FHWA to include this proposed freeway as part of the CANAMEX corridor. In fact, the CANAMEX corridor in Maricopa County takes trucks from I-10 south of the Valley across I-8 to State Route 85, avoiding the metro-Phoenix area. Improvements are under way to convert this route into a higher-capacity, freeway quality route.”
[xiii] Retrieved 2008-01-12.
[xvi] “The overall area has recently been identified as one of 20 major US Megapolitan Regions where future population growth is expected to be concentrated. Referred to as the Sun Corridor, area councils of governments (COGs) including the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), Pinal Association of Governments (PAG) and CAAG have been engaged in cooperative Sun Corridor research and planning. The area “could significantly benefit from a broader scale of integration if key assets are leveraged more effectively in a coordinated and collaborative manner. The I-10, I-40, I-8, I-19, I-17, CANAMEX Corridor, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP) railroads all converge in the Sun Corridor.”
 “The area is also part of the CANAMEX corridor; linking Mexico with Canada. With major ports of entry from Mexico in Nogales, about 2-hours to the south on I-10 & I-19, Pinal County especially is well positioned for trade with Mexico. Coupled with Union Pacific plans to construct a large rail yard north of Eloy that could service shipments arriving in southern California ports, future international trade opportunities may develop. A significant flow of winter vegetables from Mexico to US and Canadian markets already exists.”
Victor Mendez was the Chair of the CANAMEX Coalition (prior to Kolbe) while he was the Director of ADOT
And a report by ASU’s North American Center for Transborder Studies and MAG stated that, “The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), [and others] are key regional organizations in the Sun Corridor addressing regional issues… Regional groups within Arizona such as the Border Trade Alliance…, the Governor’s CANAMEX Corridor Task Force, the Arizona Mexico Commission, …and the state … have all encouraged state/provincial and federal governments to improve transportation and border infrastructure. Their wish is to enhance the Arizona border’s competitive capacity and to mitigate issues impacted by increased traffic flows within Arizona’s own trade corridor, the CANAMEX Corridor.
[xvii] “MAG provides regional planning and policy decisions in areas of transportation, air quality, water quality, and human services. ‘Major projects include building the South Mountain Freeway, which has been identified by the Regional Council as a priority project…’”
[xx] In SECTION 1104, Sec. 103(C)(iii) under the National Highway System, it states: “Highways on the Interstate System shall be located so the maximum extent practicable, to connect at suitable border points with routes of continental importance in Canada and Mexico.”
[xxvii] now redirects to the ADOT website.  It can still be seen by entering it into the “way-back machine” on  It seems like it has not been active for a few years.  It is likely that it is functioning in a different form.
[xxxi] “The bill, if enacted, will require ‘any state department or agency or any political subdivision of this state …’ to clearly define the agreement in writing, specifying the responsibilities and benefits of each party; disclose the agreement and any contributions made by either party; obtain approval of the agreement from the appropriate legislative committee, or other legislative body; disclose the information on a public website; and include a sunset provision for the agreement. The bill will also prohibit PPPs from lobbying. This action arises directly from the Gov. Janet Napolitano’s refusal to answer WND’s questions about her Public/Private Partnership with the Arizona Mexico Commission. This ‘commission’ is not a commission at all, but a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(4) organization. The organization’s offices are located a few floors below the governor’s office in a state-owned office building. The governor’s office was asked if there existed a written agreement between the state and the organization, how much rent the organization paid to the state for its office space, and whether the state provided any funding to the organization. The governor refused to answer these questions. State legislators asked the auditor general to audit the Arizona Mexico Commission and were told that an audit was not possible, since the AMC is a private entity.”
Board of Directors:
[xl] Sandra Watson is involved with the AMC, the ACA, Arizona Department of Commerce, MAG’s EDC, and AIDA, Marisa Walker is part of AMC and AIDA.  Todd Sanders is part of AMC and MAG’s EDC.  James Manson and Gary Magrino are part of AMC and AIDA.  Arizona Representative Russell Jones is part of AMC, various state committees, was directly involved with CANAMEX (, is the Chair of AIDA and wrote legislation relating to AIDA.
[xlii]The odds are that the only way that this project is going to get built in the next 30 years is if it is done as a public / private partnership. Every dollar in the MAG region, and this project is in the MAG region, that they anticipate coming in the next 20 – 25 years has been programmed. It will be a long time before there will be any new incremental money to do anything other than what was in the original program. Public / private money is reticent to be invested in projects where the alternative alignment study and where the environmental work has not yet been completed. The opportunity that is here is that the coalition that they have been working with has made a commitment to work with them on possible donation of a significant amount of Right of Way, if the alignment study ultimately shows that this road should go through their property. If it does not, all bets are off. If it ultimately does show that, they have committed to sit down and work with them on developing some sort of a donation agreement. If they have received that money, one of the costliest pieces of a major rebuild project is Right of Way. If they can get that Right of Way for little to nothing based upon this study, then when they go out with a solicitation and potentially do this road as a public / private partnership as a toll road, that is a cost that they do not have to incur... What they need is private capital to build the facility and then do this as a public / private partnership. That is the plan.”  John McGee, Executive Director for Planning and Policy for the Arizona Department of Transportation p 10
[xlvii] “The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994, was designed to enhance the access of transnational capital from the United States to cheap Mexican labor and Canadian natural resources. The SPP deepens these relations and harnesses the so-called war on terror to an expanded U.S.-Mexican-Canadian trade agenda and a lopsided energy grab to secure U.S. access to dwindling continental oil and gas reserves.”
 “It was widely noted that effective private sector input into the SPP process will be dependent on efficient organization of the North American business community. A larger role for the Council of the Americas, and particularly its North American Business Committee, was seen as a priority to provide a voice for “North American” business, and to provide a rallying point for North America-wide engagement in the SPP process.”
[liv] “In March of 2006, a second SPP summit was held, this time with Bush, Fox, and newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The press release (which can be found at, “Report to Leaders August 2006”) announced the formation of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), which “provides a voice and a formal role for the private sector” whose job is to advise the SPP ministers in their respective governments. Current Canadian SPP ministers are Maxime Bernier (Foreign Affairs), Jim Prentice (Industry) and Stockwell Day (Public Safety, ha!). The NACC is run out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and with the Council of the Americas, and is made up of corporate leaders from each of the three countries. In Canada, these corporations include Manulife Financial, Power Corporation of Canada, Ganong Bros. Ltd, Suncor Energy, Canadian National, Linamar Corporation, Bell Canada Enterprises, Home Depot, and the Bank of Nova Scotia. U.S. companies include Campbell Soup, Chevron, Ford, FedEx, GE, GM, Lockheed Martin, Merck, Procter & Gamble, UPS, Wal-Mart, and Whirlpool.”

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