On October 7, 2014, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted for approval to add an auxiliary interstate highway that would connect I-19 and I-10. This highway connection is a significant infrastructure piece to the county’s Sonoran Corridor economic development plan. The Corridor is an area surrounding the Tucson International Airport that incorporates some of Pima County’s largest employers, such as Raytheon Missile Systems, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson International Airport and the University of Arizona Tech Park.

First and foremost, the Sonoran Corridor serves to create future job growth and facilitate national and international trade, particularly with Mexico. It is projected that the Sonoran Corridor will provide a $32 billion influx into the local economy annually and will generate over 200,000 jobs.

The freight rail, highway and air transportation infrastructure in this area will have the potential to attract a wide array of industry and make Pima County one of the most dynamic and robust manufacturing hubs in the nation. The Corridor will serve as an import/export distribution center for all of the Sun Corridor, which is the economic development zone that encompasses the Mexican border north through Tucson and Phoenix to the Prescott Valley.

The Sonoran Corridor is also important in creating a buffer for Raytheon, Pima County’s largest private employer, and facilitating its expansion, creating a second runway at the Tucson International Airport, as well as easing traffic congestion on the interstates.

This year, World View Enterprises will be one of the first new tenants in the Sonoran Corridor. World View is a prestigious company that develops and flies high-altitude flight systems for various commercial, government and research customers.  The company’s Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Dr. Alan Stern, was recently named one of TIME’s 2016 100 List of  The Most Influential People in the World. World View will provide Pima County with “jobs, prestige and a foothold in the rapidly growing space technology industry.”

If all goes well, the Sonoran Corridor has the potential to be the single most important economic development initiative Pima County has undertaken in the last 50 years. We have an opportunity to grow export-based employment in this region, which is crucial in our global economy. It is imperative in developing an aerospace, defense, high tech and manufacturing business-park that breeds great innovation and technical advances. I support public-private partnerships like these to promote economic prosperity and the greater good.

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