The High Desert Corridor project aims to construct a new 63-mile east-west freeway between California State Route 14 (SR-14) in Los Angeles County and SR-18 in San Bernardino County. The study, initiated in 2010, includes the environmental review of the new freeway, High Speed Rail feeder service, energy projection and transmission facility, and a bike route. This multi-county, multi-jurisdictional project is a joint effort between the State, Los Angeles County, and San Bernardino agencies; TRG is tasked with coordinating efforts in Los Angeles County.
At the initiation of the project, the outreach team developed a communications plan to supplement Caltrans’ effort to address NEPA and CEQA requirements and address stakeholder needs. Activities included the development of collateral materials, an aggressive online presence that focused on Twitter, Facebook, an active website, and an interactive map to support community feedback. Additionally, stakeholder briefings with elected officials, town councils, community based organizations, and economic development organizations (such as chambers of commerce) have been included in this phase of the project.
Project challenges focus on the evolution of the project. The project definition was updated in early 2012, and triggered an additional scoping comment period, and additional technical report needs. The addition of a bike route, definition of the High Speed Rail Feeder Service, and further description of the energy projection and transmission facility, required additional outreach activities. As a result of the change in project definition, the project is now experiencing a delay of nearly 12 to 18 months. The outreach team has been tasked with maintaining a community presence, while keeping billable hours low. In order to accomplish this, the outreach plan has evolved to enable the social media program to be a driving force in the current effort.
Currently the project is only funded through the environmental review process. A challenge during the community engagement process has been to provide a satisfactory response to the status of construction funding. Construction funding could be secured via a combination of private, federal, state, and local funding.
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