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  • The Sonoran Corridor - A Regional Economic Catalyst

    Sonoran Corridor Banner

    What is the Sonoran Corridor?

    The Sonoran Corridor is a multilevel, multistep, multiyear economic development initiative for Pima County and Southern Arizona. Once completed it will significantly transform the regional economy, adding billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs to the Tucson valley.

    The Corridor is best described as a 50-square-mile area surrounding the Tucson International Airport that includes some of Pima County’s largest employers, among them Raytheon Missile Systems, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson International Airport and the University of Arizona Tech Park.

    The area has a unique nexus of rail, highway and air transportation infrastructure that is desirable for a whole host of industries. A statewide transportation infrastructure planning body described the Corridor as ideally situated to serve as an import distribution center for all of the Sun Corridor, which is the economic development zone stretching from the Mexican border north through Tucson and Phoenix to the Prescott valley. 
    Estimated annual economic impact:

    $32 Billion

    Estimated job creation:


    Source: Applied Economics

    Mexico’s burgeoning manufacturing economy and expansion of its Pacific ports is creating an historic opportunity for Southern Arizona. According to a study by the Joint Planning Advisory Council, a Sun Corridor planning group from Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties, the Sonoran Corridor is not only “well-placed geographically to capitalize on the flow of goods from the Mexico and the gulf coast ports, but it has in place the necessary elements for import distribution – rail, air, and interstate access – all conveniently located.”

    Because of this, the Corridor is often described as an import/export logistics hub. While accurate, what the Sonoran Corridor is really all about is jobs. 

    The goal of the county’s and the regional and state efforts to develop the transportation infrastructure in the corridor is to support and expand the major employers already there and to attract and foster new employers in the future. That effort is laid out in detail in the county's Economic Development Plan, Update 2018multi modal

    Corridor Components

    • Protect Raytheon from encroachment/give it room to expand
    • Build Aerospace Parkway/Auxiliary Interstate Highway
    • Build Second Runway at Tucson International Airport
    • Add Utilities to the Region
    • Develop Aerospace, Defense, High Tech and Manufacturing Business Park
    • Extend Union Pacific Railroad through Corridor
    • Add Commuter Rail Line
    There are many aspects to the overall Corridor plan. The first was to protect Raytheon from encroachment and set the stage for its possible expansion

    This was mostly accomplished by purchasing land to the south of the missile manufacturer and relocating a road a half-mile south. Construction of the Hughes Access Road relocation, now called the Aerospace Parkway.

    It is intended that this action by the county will set in motion a cascade of beneficial economic effects. The buffer lands and the road relocation gives Raytheon Missile Systems room to move some of its smaller outbuildings and bunkers around, giving it room for plant expansion that does not exist on its current campus.

    Additional space created by the road relocation creates room for Raytheon to move some of its storage bunkers, which then creates room for a badly needed second runway at Tucson International Airport

    The second runway creates a much safer operating environment and allows for expanded passenger and airfreight service at the airport, which would be another infrastructure improvement to the Corridor’s logistics interconnectivity that should be a considerable draw for new employers.

    The Aerospace Parkway is the first phase of highway construction connecting Interstate 19 to Interstate 10 south of the airport. The second phase will be the extension of the Aerospace Parkway east from Alvernon Way to Rita Road near Interstate 10. The final phase is the construction of an auxiliary interstate highway connecting Interstate 19 to Interstate 10.

    This will link by road Raytheon and other manufacturers to the Port of Tucson, an inland port and warehouse and international distribution center, and the nearby University of Arizona Tech Park and its numerous technology and research firms.

    Union Pacific Railroad also is considering adding through the corridor a connection from its north-south line to its east-west line, creating easier access to the Port of Tucson and movement of goods into and out of Mexico. Should this occur, it opens the door for a possible commuter rail connection between downtown Tucson and the airport and the major employers nearby.

    An important component of the Sonoran Corridor is the county’s Aerospace Research Park. The park has an emphasis on aerospace, defense and technology. 

    This nearly 2,000-acre shovel-ready business park located in the center of all this transportation and logistics infrastructure will become one of Southern Arizona’s largest high-wage employment zones.

    To make the Sonoran Corridor a reality will require many years of hard work, many public-private partnerships, voter-approved pubic investment and the cooperation and funding from every level of government in the region – local, state and federal. 

    There is still a lot to do and a long way to go to create one of the nation’s largest import and export distribution hubs and one of the state’s largest high-wage employment zones that fundamentally transforms the metro Tucson economy. 

    Governments:Partners logos

    • United State Air Force/Department of Defense
    • Arizona Air National Guard
    • State of Arizona/State Land
    • University of Arizona – Tech Park Arizona
    • Pima Association of Governments
    • Pima County
    • City of Tucson
    • Town of Sahuarita
    • Tohono O’odham Nation – San Xavier District
    • Tucson Airport Authority


    • Tucson Electric Power
    • Tucson Water
    • Pima County Wastewater
    • Southwest Gas
    • Century Link
    • Level 3 Communications
    • Cox Communications


    • Raytheon Missile Systems
    • Port of Tucson
    • Union Pacific
    • Freeport-McMorran
    • Asarco
    • Sun Corridor Inc.
    • Southern Az Logistics Education Organization

    County Administrator Memorandums

    Studies and Reports


    There are numerous maps showing all the various components of the Sonoran Corrdior as well as draft concept plans. They are compiled on this page

    Fact Sheets and Flyers

    Powerpoint Presentations


    Press Releases

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    Economic Development

    Heath S. Vescovi-Chiordi, 

    Patrick Cavanaugh,
    Deputy Director

    Kelle Maslyn,
    Assistant Director

    (520) 724-8450
    201 N. Stone Ave., 2nd Floor
    Tucson, AZ 85701

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