Board Sends Request To Fund Palmdale-Victorville Expressway
POSTED: 6:25 pm PDT March 28, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority, which met for the first time Wednesday, wasted no time in sending letters to federal lawmakers seeking $23 million to build a new expressway between Palmdale and Victorville.
The mission of the nine-member authority, which is led by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, is to address congestion issues facing the high desert region.
In its first official act, the authority unanimously agreed to request money from the Federal Highway Administration to build a four- to six-lane expressway between the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in Palmdale and the Mojave (15) Freeway in Victorville.
Los Angeles and San Bernardino county officials believe the new expressway would relieve truck congestion on the Foothill (210), San Bernardino (10) and Pomona (60) freeways.
Last month, Antonovich asked the Metropolitan Transportation Authority staff to determine whether an "inland port" could be built in the Antelope Valley. Under that proposal, trucks could pick up goods transported by rail, instead of driving to the Los Angeles or Long Beach ports.
The proposed expressway, identified as the High Desert Corridor, would allow those trucks to transport goods through San Bernardino without traveling through the San Gabriel Valley.
"It's a win-win situation as far as moving cargo, enhancing public transportation, improving air quality and creating new jobs," Antonovich said.
The authority estimates it will cost $50 million to complete the preliminary engineering, environmental clearance and financial plan needed to build the roadway, which could cost as much as $1.7 billion and take six years to construct.
"With the amount of containers that are going to be coming from China and other countries, and with Ontario (International) Airport tripling their flights in the next 20 years, and all of our other highway improvements that are going on, this is a big priority to help move goods from the ports on through to the rest of the western United States," Mitzelfelt said.
Members of the joint powers authority will meet again in one or two months.