CANAMEX and Megapolitan Arizona’s Sun Corridor
by Linda Bentley | July 2, 2008
PHOENIX – Gov. Janet Napolitano has left little doubt her push for statewide transportation, infrastructure and the CANAMEX Corridor (www.canamex.org), defined by Congress in the 1995 National Highway Systems Designation Act as a High Priority Corridor in juxtaposition with NAFTA, is one of the “working groups” of President Bush’s Security and Prosperity Partnership (www.spp.gov) formed in conjunction with the leaders of Mexico and Canada.
CANAMEX is scheduled to become a high-volume transportation corridor connecting Mexico through Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana to Canada.
The rollout of the TIME Initiative (Transportation and Infrastructure Moving Arizona's Economy Act), drafted by the governor's office with input from the development community, APS, attorneys and environmental groups, to place a one-cent state sales tax increase on the ballot to raise $42 billion over 30 years was in lockstep with ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy to spin it all into a utopian fairy tale for the public with its Megapolitan – Arizona’s Sun Corridor report.
Beginning in the year 2035, the fable looks backwards, through the eyes of “Sylvia Wong,” at what the state’s current leadership has planned for the state without asking its citizens, except for the funding mechanisms.
Of course, globalization takes front and center stage early by stating Wong is a native Arizona with three degrees from universities in as many countries.
Wong talks about the “sprawling Sun Corridor,” thinking to herself, “Everything here is so far apart … Arizona still seems like backwater compared to Shanghai and Dubai.”
The Sun Corridor’s 10,000-acre “Solavolt” is the world’s largest concentrator solar facility, which Wong cites “was almost not built.”
Phoenix also became the center of the nutraceutical world with the innovations of “Padilla,” who started in Mexico decades ago as a vitamin manufacturer and whose Arizona medical training led him back to the state and connections with “the genetics expertise that took hold in downtown Phoenix in the early 21st century.”
What used to draw people to Arizona, such as its Western feel, wide open spaces, ranches and well-spaced single family homes, is frowned upon as the story’s characters question why everyone thinks they have to have separate walls from their neighbors.
And the “CorrGov” initiative placed on the ballot in 2012 to deal more effectively with transportation and air quality for the entire region, was voted down by “the Sun Corridor’s mosaic of communities.”
However, in 2017, since transportation and air quality hadn’t “shifted to a regional model,” air quality worsened and the U.S. Department of Transportation finally made good on its threat to cut of Arizona highway funds.
The Megapolitan Transportation Authority was formed and its “Bank It” financing plan paved the way for airports throughout the Sun Corridor, the high-speed train connection into Sky Harbor and the start of the Mega Smart Route (MSR) system, one of the countries earliest intelligent ground-based transportation systems.
On the same page Wong speaks of “Governor Lopez,” who was “elected by the largest margin in state history,” there is a picture of an elderly man who looks remarkably like former Mexican President Vicente Fox.
The fairy tale was the Morrison Institute’s way to point out considerations for the Sun Corridor’s future.
The Sun Corridor melds many unique places across Arizona into one big ball called a Megapolitan, which encompasses the CANAMEX Corridor, with a call for all politics to be “glocal,” which it defines as “a global economic strategy that must be matched with local commitments to livability and competitiveness.”
In order to compete against the best in Singapore, Shanghai, Frankfurt and Bangalore, the Institute states it “requires that the Sun Corridor at the center of the republic of Arizona (which the report makes a point of saying is a small ‘r’) must be the American megapolitan that finds the way to lead in education, sustainability and the free enterprise driving creativity and innovation.”
There’s a section called “A Megapolitan Nation” showing blended regions across the country.
The report claims Arizona was a “progressive” state in 1912 at statehood and over nearly 100 years of history Arizona has become known as a “conservative” state with a continuing tug of war between those who believe Arizona’s “overweening governments” should be curtailed and those who think the public sector must make more investments to meet the demands of the 21st century.
Breaking the area down into 10 realms from north to south, the report listed the highlights/assets, strengths and challenges for each region.
Challenges listed for the Northwest area included: Small-town and “Old West” feel at risk, water supply and I-17 limitations. Strengths included open spaces, strong identities, recreation areas, public lands and higher education assets.
The West Valley’s challenges included its negative image, education and quality jobs, jobs housing balance, and skill/job matches.
The Central Valley’s challenges included things such as its low-income core, heat island effect, reluctance to embrace bilingual-bicultural communities and air quality.
The Upper East Valley’s challenges included traffic congestion, competition from new areas and embracing redevelopment.
The East Valley was challenged with its slowness to regional action, being the largest municipality weakened by finances, adapting to changing demographics and reluctant to embrace bilingual-bicultural communities.
The Mid-Mega in the Golden Corridor is challenged by a negative jobs-housing balance, development before planning and rural to urban.
Meanwhile, strengths for the Gateway International Thoroughfare, the connection between Arizona, Mexico and Latin America, included bilingual and bicultural, CANAMEX Corridor, cross-border economy and I-10 east.
Challenges for the same area cited immigration stresses, low incomes, skill/jobs match, quality education and workforce development, water quality, air quality and cross border environmental declines.
While the report refers to the “rosy picture of the Sun Corridor as a powerhouse of global commerce plugged into the knowledge economy connected to Asia and the world,” as painted in the opening fairy tale portion of the report, it asks, “What if that does not happen?”
It then states it is equally plausible that the trajectory growth in the Sun Corridor may produce primarily warehouses along the CANAMEX Corridor and distribution centers for Southern California.
The report pits globalists against localists and states, “The rewards of international leadership were crystal clear to many the first time they heard the phrase ‘global economy.’ For these ‘globalists,’ all the world’s an economic stage. They thrill the worldwide race, even as equally concerned ‘localists’ defend the Sun Corridor as doing just fine the way it is.”
To deal with anticipated challenges the Institute made these suggestions:
Minimize further fragmentation by making annexation easy and incorporation difficult. Reduce divisions by consolidating governments.
Create a regional mechanism to divide responsibilities among levels of government.
The proposed social engineering even delves into personal behavior for “community well-being,” suggesting “integrating physical activity into our daily lives, cleaning up and protecting the environment, recognizing the contributions of mental health to overall health and well-being and reducing the toll of violence in society.”