By Chairman Curt Hagman
In 2011, we asked San Bernardino County residents in town meetings held across the region to share their vision for the county’s future. Then, we worked together to develop a vision for the county that embraced the ideas, hopes and dreams of our residents. We put a plan into action, a Countywide Vision, to fulfill the region’s greatest potential and opportunities.
The San Bernardino Countywide Vision statement begins, “We envision a complete county that capitalizes on the diversity of its people, its geography, and its economy to create a broad range of choices for its residents in how they live, work, and play.” It further states, “We envision a vibrant economy with a skilled workforce that attracts employers who seize the opportunities presented by the county’s unique advantages and provide the jobs that create countywide prosperity.”
I believe that bold, forward-thinking action inspired by our Countywide Vision has helped to create a region where people and business can thrive and grow. Just consider how far we have come. San Bernardino County is now home to 63,000 businesses that contribute significantly to the local economy by bringing growth, opportunity and innovation. Our labor force is 970,900 people strong, providing the critical human infrastructure necessary for business success. As of 2020, total gross domestic product (GDP) in San Bernardino County was over $91 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2019.
A Bright Future
The Countywide Vision continues to serve as a wide-ranging business plan for ongoing expansion as we manage regional population growth that is expected to increase by 9 percent and future job growth that is expected to increase by 38.7 percent over the next 10 years, higher than the expected U.S. average of 33.5 percent.
Proactive and supportive economic development strategies and programs, including many public-private partnerships, at the local, regional and international level encourage connections and collaborations in our neighborhoods and cities as well as around the world.
Even now, billions of dollars are being invested in San Bernardino County in technology, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, and new housing and entertainment venues that enhance and improve how people live, work and play.
For example, in February 2022, San Bernardino County will be the first Southern California location for TopGolf when it completes a 600,000-square-foot entertainment attraction on 13 acres of County-owned land in Ontario.
Investments that will create thousands of jobs and transform transportation, not just in San Bernardino County, but throughout the Western U.S. are already underway. The Boring Company, founded by Elon Musk, is working with the County and local partners to develop an underground transit loop that will shuttle thousands of passengers between Ontario International Airport and the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station easing traffic congestion and enabling rapid point-to-point transportation. Brightline West is building a privately-funded high-speed electric rail connection between Las Vegas, the Victor Valley and Rancho Cucamonga.
Thousands of small Space X satellites will soon provide high-speed internet access to remote areas of San Bernardino County thanks to an agreement with Starlink to test a beta version of the system.
These are just a few examples that underscore the impact of making connections whether through rapid transit, leading-edge technology or innovative entertainment.
As we enter 2022, improving the overall economic performance of the region and growing an economy that is in alignment with our workforce and residents remain priorities. By fulfilling the promise of our Countywide Vision, I am confident that we will position San Bernardino County as a region that attracts the best and brightest who seek a vibrant and sustainable future.