The development of transportation in Belize, Central America
Cooper, Daniel H.
Lutes, Loren D.
Master of Science
The development of Belize with emphasis on the role of transportation is considered. The past and present situations are summarized, including a study of the various economic, social and cultural aspects. The historical growth of transportation is noted and related to the economic development of the country, and the present situation and immediate needs are analyzed. Finally, a plan for future development is presented. In this plan growth concepts are discussed and recommendations are made for efficient interaction between transportation and national development. The historical development of Belize was built around the lumber industry and mercantile activities with Belize City evolving as the center of population, transportation and government. The decline in marketable timber and the absence of natural mineral resources has forced Belize to turn towards agricultural production as a source of export commodities as well as a means for reducing national dependence on imported food-stuffs. The most important potential agricultural areas are located inland and were, until recently, almost totally inaccessible. The immediate transportation needs center around improved highway networks and port facilities, since air travel is developing in an adequate fashion and rail transport does not appear to be justified. There is a clear need for an improved highway network that will allow convenient access to remote parts of the country and provide a means of marketing agricultural produce. In addition an improved highway system that is designed to connect to the existing Central American network would free Belize from its now isolated position. The existing port facilities at Belize City and Commerce Bight are inadequate at present. The principle port at Belize City is required to handle all import and export items by means of lighters, since no deep water port facilities exist. The current governmental proposals for construction of new deep water port facilities at Belize City and Commerce Bight are discussed and possible alternatives examined. Finally, considerations are made concerning the future development of transportation in Belize. Future needs are based on both the continued economic growth of the country and the need for a more complete regional transportation network. The identification of areas of unique economic potential and socio-economic regions is made, along with suggestions for establishing urban growth centers and their corresponding transportation links.