One in a series of posts that will look at projects and programs that would receive funding from the sales tax ballot measure that the Metro Board has approved to send to voters on Nov. 8.
What is it? The High Desert Corridor is a Caltrans and Metro project that would include: a new 63-mile freeway between Palmdale in the Antelope Valley and Apple Valley in San Bernardino County; a 36-mile bikeway between 39th Street in Palmdale and U.S. 395; a right-of-way for a potential high-speed rail line between the state’s bullet train in Palmdale and a proposed bullet train to run between Victorville and Las Vegas, and; space within the corridor for green and renewable energy production and transmission (solar, for example).
Under the proposed alternative, the freeway would be tolled between 100th Street in Palmdale and U.S. 395 in Victorville.
As for the high-speed rail line, if both the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco bullet train project and the Victorville-Las Vegas lines are built, there would be a bullet train network connecting L.A., Las Vegas, Victorville, Palmdale, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Jose and San Francisco. Both bullet train projects still need considerable funding and approvals in order to be constructed, but such a network is certainly an interesting notion.
What’s the purpose? The project “would provide route continuity and relieve traffic congestion between the 14 freeway, the 18 and the 15 freeway,” according to Caltran’s environmental studies for the project. The High Desert Corridor would also serve as an alternative to the congested 138 (portions of which are just two lanes or four lanes undivided) and serve traffic and trucks moving between the Central Valley and the 15 freeway which is used to access points east across the U.S.
What would the potential ballot measure do for the project? Under the revised spending plan released in June, the project would receive $170 million for acquisition of land for the right-of-way in Los Angeles County. Here’s a fact sheet on potential property acquisition for the project. The project would also receive $1.84-billion for construction of the L.A. County segment with a target completion date of 2067. In order to actually build the project, other funding might be needed — perhaps partially from tolls or a public-private partnership.
Where can I learn more about the project? Here’s the project’s home page on metro.net (which includes links to a variety of fact sheets and info) and the draft environmental impact statement/report is on the Caltrans site. The final EIS/R still must be released. After its release and a public comment period, Caltrans and Metro will select a final route for the project.
Metro’s ballot measure calls for a half-cent sales tax increase and an extension of the existing Measure R sales tax. Here’s a previous post about the revised spending plan for the ballot measure.
Please visit theplan.metro.net for more info and use the hashtag #metroplan when discussing on social media. The Metro Board approved sending the ballot measure to county voters at their June 23 meeting.
Other posts about projects and programs to be funded by the potential ballot measure
Metro’s bold plan to transform transportation (an overview of the draft spending plan released in March)