The Metro Board of Directors’ Planning Committee on Wednesday are scheduled to receive-and-file a Metro staff report about the recently-completed Alternatives Analysis for the High Desert Corridor project.
The project proposes a new 63-mile freeway from Palmdale to State Route 18 in San Bernardino. It’s a road that has been talked about for many years because of the tremendous growth in high desert communities that are linked by two-lane roads that have had, to put it mildly, safety challenges (especially Highway 138). Also, many trucks are already using the area as a short-cut between the 14 and 15 freeways.
The Analysis considers the usual “no build” option as required by law. Components of the project may include a freeway, expressway, toll road, green energy corridor and/or right of way for a potential high speed rail system.
Metro staff has recommended variations along the corridor for further analysis in order to avoid, minimize or mitigate environmental concerns. In addition, staff recommends no further study of having the project concentrate solely on improvements to Highway 138, saying that the environmental costs are considered to be too high compared to the transportation benefit that would be achieved.
The Measure R sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters included $33 million to help pay for environmental studies for the project. As for the project itself, it remains unfunded at this point.