Proponents of an autonomous vehicle testing facility recently filed an initiative May 26 with the San Benito County Registrar of Voters, the first step in qualifying for the November 2020 ballot. The Elections Office confirmed the initiative’s filing and said it is under review by county counsel before it goes back to the proponents to begin the signature-gathering phase.
According to a May 26 release, the Strata Verde Innovation Park would create a state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle testing facility and e-commerce center in San Benito County. The facility would be located near the Santa Clara County line off Highway 25. The release said the project would bring over 5,500 permanent jobs and over 18,000 construction jobs.
The project first went before the San Benito County Board of Supervisors in March 2019.
“Not only is this project an economic engine for San Benito County, but it will also honor our rich agricultural heritage,” former sheriff Curtis Hill said in the release, which identifies him as an official proponent of the initiative. “It will create more than 5,500 permanent high-tech, high-wage jobs and provide the opportunity for public safety training on-site, while still preserving 562 acres for agricultural use.”
The Strata Verde website states the plan is to include hundreds of acres of private research and development facilities, and a vehicle testing venue with a three-mile coast down track.
The release notes that the facility will also offer public access to the Pajaro River area of the property for the first time, creating a 209-acre public park along a three-mile stretch of the river.