The creation of a “Smart Corridor” is a unique concept that relies five Initiatives proposed in the Corridor Plan. Initiatives 1, 2, 3 and 5 are considered “Bold Initiatives” because their implementation requires a new level of cooperation among the five states and/or the creation of a new multi-state organization that does not currently exist. The fourth Initiative, Corridor Highway Improvements, does not require the same level of multi-state cooperation.
Initiative No.1 Smart Freight Corridor
The ability for states to operate on a shared Information Technology Systems (ITS) with the same information would enhance the safety and efficiency of the Corridor for both freight and tourists by providing information to the public, enforcement agencies, and to emergency medical, fire, and hazardous material teams. For example, an ITS system would allow emergency response teams to track when a truck carrying hazardous materials enters their state to ensure a quick response if a spill were to occur.
This Initiative would also provide service information to commercial vehicle operators and motor carriers either over the Web at strategically located truck stop kiosks, or through in-vehicle systems that may be implemented as a result of public/private partnerships.
Initiative No.2 Smart Tourist Corridor
Tourism is an important component in the economics of all five CANAMEX States. ITS improvements could provide considerable opportunity for a robust tourism business and enhanced traveler safety. ITS systems could help tourists in an emergency by creating quicker responses and allowing full cellular coverage by eliminating dead spots. In addition, state of the art rest stops could provide tourists access to traveler information services such as tourist attractions, border crossing, hospitality services, and hunting and fishing licenses.
Initiative No. 3 Telecommunications Access for Rural Areas
The essential infrastructure for economic growth for the early part of the 21st century will be telecommunications infrastructure. Since most of the rural areas along the Corridor are lagging in broadband access, this Bold Initiative’s main elements are:
- Using government authority to leverage telecom companies to install broadband service to smaller town and rural communities.
- Encouraging the deployment of fiber optic and other telecommunications cable lines within the CANAMEX Corridor.
- Reviewing the status of Wireless Local Loop technology carriers in the Corridor states and providing recommendations on how to facilitate deployment of these carriers for “last mile” access in rural areas.
- Establishing a north-south broadband backbone to facilitate the deployment of ITS and related smart corridor enhancements.
Initiative #4 Corridor Highway Improvements
In urban areas, approximately $4 billion of highway improvements are already planned and programmed for the Corridor. The Hoover Dam Bypass Project, currently underway, is included as a planned project. While it is not fully funded, the Project is vital to the safety and efficiency goals of the CANAMEX Corridor. Even with this investment, studies indicate that the CANAMEX Corridor is likely to experience congestion in and around major urban centers over the next 30 years in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. In addition, considering the more severe winters in Montana and Idaho, the reconstruction of older portions of I-15 will require substantial investment.
Long range highway needs are difficult to assess in this region, comprised of four of the five fastest growing states. Based on the analysis, the Plan proposes approximately $2 billion (in Year 2000 dollars) in additional highway improvements over and above the currently planned and programmed projects. As these proposed projects are new to the states’ plans, they are unfunded. These improvements include projects in Tucson, Phoenix, and Wickenburg, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Ogden, Brigham City, Provo, Cedar City, and Bountiful, Utah; and Pocatello, Idaho. Corridor rehabilitation projects will also be necessary in all states.
Initiative No. 5 Smart Process Partnerships
Each of the five CANAMEX states is moving to advance e-commerce and e-government within its own jurisdiction. Partnerships with each other would create opportunities for greater efficiency and savings for government, businesses, and individuals. This Corridor Plan advances three ideas to facilitate the work of these partnerships. The ideas include:
- Accelerating access to e-government services throughout the Corridor such as license renewals and business registration.
- Facilitating provision of professional services in the region through common registration and licensing which contributes to the creation of a “borderless economy”.
- The development of an interoperable Digital Signature program. On June 30, 2000, the President signed into law the Electronic Signatures in National and Global E-Commerce Act (E-Sign). E-sign provides the legal framework and the opportunity for the CANAMEX states to work together to develop a common system and a single set of standards for secure electronic commercial transactions.