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High Desert Corridor project gains traction, but funding is low

Plans are in the works for the High Desert Corridor, but the project could take nearly a decade to complete and needs funding.

January 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A section of California State Route 138 known as the Pearblossom Highway is also a stretch of road known for how dangerous and deadly it can be.

For residents and truckers, there's really no alternate route if they want to get from Palmdale to Victorville.

Perhaps not for long, though. A decades-long project known as the High Desert Corridor is moving closer to reality.

"The High Desert Corridor has been talked about since the 1930s when it was known as the L.A. bypass, and many decades of planning have taken place," said Brad Mitzelfelt, vice-chairman at San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

Not only could the new freeway mean good news for commuters, but for business as well, especially for commerce moving through the Southern California Logistics Airport.

"It will help good movement, it will help mobility, it will help relieve congestion," Mitzelfelt said.

Construction isn't expected to happen any time soon. While there is money set aside for planning, there's none set aside for construction."

"Best case scenario, if we had all the funds needed for the project, we could start construction in 2016, and have it completed by 2020," said Robert Machuca, a project manager for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Machuca says that's only going to be possible if there's a public-private partnership.

"We know that federal and state funds are very minimal, so being able to introduce the private sector into this project is going to be critical for the full funding of the project," Machuca said.

High desert residents will have a chance to give their own input at four public meetings that begin Jan. 24.