New signs along highways in central and western Arizona honor four state leaders who were instrumental in securing approval and funding for the Central Arizona Project.
Signs have been installed where I-10, I-17 and other highways cross CAP’s Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct and the Fannin-McFarland Aqueduct.
The Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct carries Colorado River water 190 miles to the Phoenix area. This section is named for Carl T. Hayden (U.S. House of Representatives, 1912-27; U.S. Senate, 1927-69) and for John J. Rhodes (U.S. House of Representatives, 1953-83). Thirteen signs along I-17, the Loop 101 and Highways 60, 87 and 95 call out the Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct.
The Fannin-McFarland Aqueduct stretches 58 miles, starting at CAP’s Gila-Salt pumping plant off Bush Highway in Mesa. Its name honors Paul J. Fannin (Arizona governor, 1959-65; U.S. Senate, 1965-77) and Ernest W. McFarland (U.S. Senate, 1941-53, Arizona governor, 1955-59. Five signs along Highways 60 and 79 call out the Fannin-McFarland Aqueduct.
“These signs are a reminder of Central Arizona Project’s rich history and the heroic efforts made on its behalf,” said Ted Cooke, Central Arizona Project general manager. “The individuals for whom these aqueducts are named were Arizona leaders with vision. They had the foresight to recognize the importance of water for our state’s future and managed to secure federal funding and authorization despite facing an uphill battle in Congress.”
Hayden, Rhodes, Fannin and McFarland were instrumental in advancing the construction of what was to become Central Arizona Project. After decades of work by them, and other members of Arizona’s congressional delegation, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the enabling bill – the Colorado River Basin Project Act – in 1968. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation designating a leg of the Central Arizona Project canal as the Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct. President George W. Bush followed suit in 1992 by approving legislation to rename the Gila-Salt Aqueduct after Fannin and McFarland.
In his remarks signing the Colorado River Basin Project Act into law, President Johnson specifically called out Senators Hayden and McFarland, remarking about Hayden, “If I had to give any one man credit for this project, it would be that happy warrior, that great statesman, that beloved human being, who in the twilight of his career sees his vision come true. Today, we meet here on Carl Hayden day, really, in the White House to sign this great project for the people that he loves and in honor of him whom men of both parties love and respect and admire.”
These signs set the stage for the 50th anniversary of the Colorado River Basin Project Act, which will be commemorated by CAP throughout 2018.