Mayors Pat Morris, Pete Aguilar, Larry McCallon, David Zamora and Rhodes Rigsby
Posted: 02/26/2011 07:09:41 AM PST

As the mayors of five cities in the heart of the east San Bernardino Valley, it is our collective responsibility to ensure we make the strategic investments required to rebuild our regional economy and ensure its vibrancy and sustainability for the 21st century. Our highest priority has been modernizing our region’s transportation infrastructure to ensure our valley is economically attractive to businesses, jobs and residents.

Several months ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a groundbreaking study that found our nation’s transportation system is underperforming and unable to meet the needs of the business community and the overall economy. “The bottom line is this: our nation’s deteriorating (transportation) infrastructure is placing a major drag on our economic growth,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “If we don’t head off that decline, we’re taking money out of every American’s pocket.”

The U.S. Chamber report ranked the performance of the transportation system in every state across the nation. California’s transportation system ranked fourth from the bottom. “We must focus on improving the way transportation delivers for business, removing barriers to maintaining, modernizing and expanding our nation’s transportation infrastructure,” said Donohue. “The benefits are clear improved transportation performance boosts economic growth.”

As the mayors of our region, we agree 100percent with the U.S. Chamber’s clarion call for modernizing and improving the effectiveness of our transportation infrastructure. Regions that are successful in modernizing their transportation system will experience sustainable economic growth, jobs and success. Regions that do not make these investments will be left behind.

So here is what we have been collectively doing in the east San Bernardino Valley to help ensure our region’s economic revitalization and prosperity for the future.

The 215 Freeway is being completely rebuilt and modernized, including new connectors at the 215-210 interchange. The 10 Freeway has been widened through Redlands and new truck climbing lanes added. Construction starts soon on new carpool lanes on the 215 to Riverside and the 10 to Los Angeles.

Construction will commence this summer on sbX in San Bernardino, the first rapid transit service in the Inland Empire, connecting thousands of workers, businesses, residents and students along the corridor from Cal State University, through downtown and Hospitality Lane, to Loma Linda University and the Veterans Hospital. This is the first of 10 rapid transit lines comprising a valley-wide system from Montclair to Highland that will modernize and transform our region’s transportation system for the 21st century.

The extension of the Los Angeles and Orange County Metrolink commuter rail lines to the downtown San Bernardino Intermodal Transit Center is funded, with design and engineering in progress. Planning for light rail service from the Transit Center to downtown Redlands is under way, including an option that extends the rail system to Highland and the SB Airport to create a rail loop that serves the entire valley.

Investments at San Bernardino International Airport have created an airport ready to commence passenger air service for our region. The airport investments have also brought Million Air’s executive aviation facility and services to our region and enabled our airport to serve as the test facility for Boeing’s new 747-8 intercontinental aircraft.

We have united with leaders from throughout the Inland Empire to ensure California’s high-speed rail system interconnects directly to our regional transportation system so our economy, businesses, and residents prosper from being integrated with the next generation of transportation infrastructure.

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