RELEASE: California’s Proposed High Desert Corridor Freeway Runs Counter to Region’s Environmental and Land Use Goals

Washington, D. C. — Southern California’s proposed High Deseret Corridor (HDC) is the latest infrastructure project to be named to the Center for American Progress’ “White Elephant Watch” series. The series highlights projects that epitomize the worst of the United States’ approach to infrastructure, which focuses heavily on funding without looking at the effects of the money being spent.

The HDC was deemed a white elephant because—despite the project’s $8 billion price tag— the HDC would run counter to the Southern California Association of Government’s (SCAG) goals of building more high-quality transit neighborhoods, reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled, and zoning for more multifamily housing near job centers.

Kevin DeGood, “White Elephant Watch” creator and director of Infrastructure Policy at the Center for American Progress, argues that the HDC has three main flaws:

1) It would extend along the northern, exurban fringe of the Southern California metropolitan region, facilitating low-density, auto-dependent development for decades to come.

2) It would fail to increase transportation choice or improve access to major employment centers in the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles Basin, or the San Bernardino Valley.

3.) The east-west highway would result in substantial environmental harm.

“The HDC would be a giant step backwards for California and its work to achieve clean air, halt global warming, and advance sustainable growth,” said DeGood. “The HDC would create immediate and long-term environmental damage while doing little to nothing to ease congestion or facilitate travel. The project’s $8 billion budget would be much better spent on improving the frequency and reliability of express bus and Metrolink service and connections to major job centers in the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles Basin, and the San Bernardino Valley.”

Click here to read “White Elephant Watch Vol. 6: High Desert Corridor, Southern California” by Kevin DeGood.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at or 202.495.3682.