What does the future hold for a transportation corridor linking the Inland Empire into the Mojave Valley?
The Coalition's field study of the Interstate 40 corridor between Barstow and the Mojave Valley yielded many findings and several unique marketplace transit and economic development opportunities. Generally speaking, each of the intermediate towns and stops share the following marketplace assets: Historic Route 66, Heat energy, logistics, and the BNSF-operated rail right-of-way.
Here are just a few suggestions for public officials to consider for clearing the way for a strong and robust transportation corridor:
- Incline additional marketplace economic
investment by designating the central
area blocks of each town and village as unique specific plans. Keep the blocks to a small scale.
Any development that would induce urban sprawl, or traffic congestion
must be discouraged.
- Keep the job-to-housing ratio balanced
to eliminate the need for long distance commuting.
- Protect the open desert from unchecked
sprawl by designating the outer fringes of the villages and towns as
rural ranch or agriculture and areas beyond that as open space.
- Offer incentives to the private sector
for the production of renewable heat energy.
- Commence a town hall meeting with
existing investors, local area business owners, and residents to see
how the region can be more business-friendly and what government
reforms are necessary to build up business. What would entice a private intercity bus
operator to the Highway 66 corridor?
- Fix up the Highway 66 frontage road as
more investors come forth.
- There is a possibility that Class One private railroads including BNSF which long ago discontinued passenger service could reinstate and directly operate passenger trains in the future. Should BNSF desire to move forward with this concept for the LA-to-Flagstaff corridor, public officials should clear the way for the railroad to do so with potential local stops at each of the intermediate cities.
It's going to take a lot of work and vision to get these desert towns and villages back into an economically robust state when Highway 66 was the main throughfare, but history has shown that revitalizing blighted areas is possible and rewarding. One only needs to travel into one of many historic downtown districts throughout Southern California to see such economic development in action.