Torres Releases Plan to Grow Inland Empire Economy
May 1, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) released A Roadmap to Economic Resilience in the Inland Empire, a comprehensive plan to create jobs and grow the Inland Empire economy. The plan is the product of a district-wide listening tour where Torres met with local economic leaders, education professionals, employees, and business owners to discuss the challenges facing the Inland Empire economy and their ideas for jumpstarting economic growth.
“After seven roundtable discussions, tours of some of our region’s largest employers, and discussions with over 200 local stakeholders, one point is clear: the Inland Empire has enormous economic potential,” said Torres. “I believe the recommendations we developed are essential to bringing quality, high-paying jobs to our community and ensuring a lasting economic recovery for us all.”
The report focuses on four key areas in growing the local economy: investing in the region’s infrastructure, developing the Inland Empire’s workforce, helping small businesses succeed, and diversifying the local economy.
“By focusing on a multi-faceted, long-term strategy that incorporates the input of the very people who are fueling our economic recovery, we will not only build a stronger economy but a resilient one that will withstand future economic downturns,” continued Torres. “I encourage local residents to visit my website to read the full report, and I welcome their feedback.”
Torres is expected to introduce her first bill to come out of the listening tour, legislation designed to attract private investment for public infrastructure projects, in the coming weeks.
The following are some of the specific policy recommendations included in the plan:
Completion of the Gold Line Foothill extension to the Ontario Airport in order to increase passenger traffic and attract investment in the surrounding communities and attain local control of the Ontario Airport, including full-time leadership, to attract more air service routes and increase the travel options for residents and businesses of the Inland Empire.
Support legislation that encourages local technical assistance for infrastructure projects across sectors to attract private capital in order to meet the growing infrastructure investment gap and develop a freight plan that recognizes the needs of the region and the region’s role in the movement of goods
Expand programs such as the partnership between Chaffey College, California Steel Industries, and the Inland Empire Regional Training Consortium by providing incentives to industries and training providers in the region that partner with local community colleges and help pay student tuition costs.
Increase small business access to capital, including microfinance lending programs that assist small business owners and women, low-income, veteran, and minority entrepreneurs and promote such programs in languages other than English.
Eliminate barriers keeping small businesses from receiving a fair share of government contracts such as reducing the practice of “bundling” requirements into contracts unsuitable for performance by small business and requiring the Small Business Administration to make recommendations as to what particular acquisitions should be awarded to a small business.
Increase awareness of the services that SBA provides to entrepreneurs by holding periodic seminars or roundtables where SBA representatives meet with local business owners.