By Allison Gatlin of the Antelope Valley Press.

PALMDALE — When the expected high speed rail line between Palmdale and the Victor Valley comes to fruition along the High Desert Corridor, it will be built, operated and maintained by union labor.

Representatives of the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority and various trade unions ceremoniously signed the workforce agreements for the project Monday at the Palmdale Transportation Center, which will become the site of the future rail station.

“We are here today to celebrate the beginning of an incredible partnership on a project that will improve the lives of countless millions of future riders and provide thousands of high-quality jobs in Los Angeles County and beyond for years to come,” Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. Barger, who represents the Antelope Valley, serves as chair of the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority, which includes Los Angeles County, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) and the cities of Palmdale, Lancaster, Adelanto and Victorville.

The 54-mile project between the two high desert communities will provide access to housing, jobs, entertainment, and cultural opportunities across Southern California while reducing freeway congestion to areas that have been historically underserved. Eventually, the corridor will connect Southern California to Northern California via the California High Speed Rail Project while connecting to the Brightline West project to Las Vegas. The corridor could provide a one-seat ride between Los Angeles County and Las Vegas.

“It’s not a question of if this project is going to get done, it’s when,” Barger said.

The workforce agreements with several unions will provide thousands of mortgage-paying jobs, said Chris Hannan, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.

“This is going to be a line that is going to connect our communities, it’s going to add to prosperity and it’s going to start first with our building trades,” he said.

The workforce agreements include the provision that assigns hiring priority for residents of the Antelope Valley and High Desert, officials said.

“These agreements are a partnership that symbolize what industrial policy should be in transportation,” said Ernesto Madrano, executive secretary of LA/OC Building Trades Council. “When you get government, you get labor and business, put it together, this is what could happen when you all work together.”

With a station planned for the California High Speed Rail project that will also serve as a terminus for the High Desert Corridor rail project, Palmdale is poised to serve as a hub for the new transportation systems.

“I personally believe that Palmdale is at the center of a transportation revolution,” Palmdale Councilmember Eric Ohlsen said. Ohlsen serves as Palmdale’s representative on the JPA board of directors.

Work has begun on the Brightline high speed rail between Las Vegas and the Victor Valley, with future plans to extend the line to Rancho Cucamonga. Ohlsen said he believes the Brightline project will extend to Palmdale if express Metrolink service between Palmdale and Los Angeles is established on a proposed double-track system, providing a speedy connection to the Los Angeles basin until the state high speed rail system is built out.

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