Southwest California Economic Alliance Unveils Commuter Computer

SOUTHWEST CALIFORNIA, Aug. 17, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- How much is a commuter's time on the road worth? If you are Cassandra Kinchen, who makes the 60 mile roundtrip from her home in the Temecula Valley to the courthouse in Vista each day, it's almost $7,500 a year.

She is among the estimated 30,000 residents of Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore who hop in their vehicles each day and head to jobs in San Diego County. Until now, few of these road warriors had any idea how much their trip costs.

Thanks to a "commuter computer" sponsored by the Southwest California Economic Alliance there is a quick and easy way to calculate the annual cost of a commute. Go the Alliance's Web site ( and enter a few basic numbers - gas mileage, hours on the road, round trip distance and days per week on the road. Click on "calculate cost" and the Alliance's commuter computer will automatically figure out your total monthly commuting expenses.

In some cases, commuters are shocked by the final total, said Stevie Field, manager of business development for the Southwest California Economic Alliance, a regional business and job attraction group that includes the cities of Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Temecula and Riverside County.

"It is amazing when people look at the hard numbers," she said. "It really does bring home the true value of your time."

Kinchen is happy with her current job but was surprised by how much she spends each year to commute to a city that is 30 miles north of San Diego. Given the $7,500 annual price tag of her commute and the time spent on the road, however, she plans to give serious thought to a job closer to home. "I would definitely consider one," she said.

Getting commuters from Southwest California off the road so they can spend more time with friends and family is one of the goals of the Alliance, according to Field. She hopes the commuter computer and the new Alliance Internet-based job bank will get residents of Southwest California to take another look at jobs in their own backyard that may pay a little less but enhance their quality of life.

The Alliance is also working hard to bring new companies and jobs to the region so its residents do not have to endure long commutes. It assisted CompuTrus Inc. with their decision to relocate. CompuTrus Inc. manufactures the metal connector plates that hold trusses together and provides critical engineering and software services to home builders. The Riverside firm is bringing as many as 40 good-paying jobs to a facility it is building in Lake Elsinore. Quality Foam Packaging Inc. is also relocating their company from Irwindale to Lake Elsinore and bringing an estimated 100 new jobs to Southwest California.

Southwest California enjoys an exceptional quality of life, a mild climate, good air quality, reasonably priced land and building sites adjacent to the I-15 and I-215 corridors, affordable housing at all levels, a highly skilled labor force, quality educational facilities and programs, and cultural, entertainment and recreational activities for every lifestyle.



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