nevada highway users coalition
February 22, 2010
Dear Highway User:

Has the time to make a substantial and sustained long-term commitment to investing in our country’s infrastructure finally arrived?

We are standing at a fork in the road. On the one hand, the high road suggests that we impose the necessary user fees and make long overdue improvements by investing in our country’s transportation system. It would be a steady climb that requires sacrifice and continued effort. Funding would be increased to design and build not only new roads and bridges, but to assure that long overdue maintenance is performed on existing roads.

On the other hand, the lower road that we have traveled since 1993 continues a downhill slide of deteriorating bridges, potholed roads and benign neglect. We all know that sooner or later, the fat lady will sing and we will wish we had taken action earlier. Any significant increase in long-term highway funding at the national level would increase motorist safety, improve the flow of goods and services among our cities and factories and return hundreds of thousands of hard working and skilled American citizens to work. Yet, 18 months after the expiration of our six year highway funding program, SAFETEA-LU, our Congress applies band aids in the form of short term extensions to the problem. Unless we each stand and demand that our elected officials redirect significant sums of our hard earned tax dollars into the capital investments that are vital to maintaining our competitive edge, we are destined to become an third world country.

The fat lady may not be singing yet, but it sounds as though she is walking across the stage.

The Nevada Highway User’s Coalition

Did You Know?
Nevada is the 7th largest state in size but ranks only 35th in population. Nevada has 33,700 miles of roads, ranking 40th of 50 states in total miles by ownership.
Federal Highway Administration, December 2006
Become a Member
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Hoover Dam Bridge: Engineering Marvel Takes Shape
A soaring 1,900-foot span across the gorge created by the Colorado River on the Arizona-Nevada border should be completed this fall. The bridge will eliminate much of a sometimes hour long bottleneck as traffic creeps over the dam on the key route between Phoenix and Las Vegas. Click here to read more.

Guest Column: RTC 5 Jobs Created
Lee Gibson, RTC Washoe Executive Director

The 2009 road construction season resulted in an investment of more than $41 million in road projects for our community. This includes 28 road projects and the Preventive Maintenance program for patch and slurry seal of streets and highways in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.

These projects resulted in the creation of local jobs putting northern Nevadans to work during this strained economy. It is estimated that 28.5 jobs are created per million dollar investment* in infrastructure. With the $41 million community investment in roads this represents approximately 1,168 jobs in our community.

In early 2010, two major road projects in partnership with NDOT are slated to begin construction. These projects include the Meadowood Interchange Improvement Project with an estimated investment of $42 to $45 million in construction work (RTC-5 contribution at $26 million) and the Northbound U.S. 395 Improvement Project (Moana Lane to Spaghetti Bowl) with an investment of $31.5 million (RTC-5 contribution at $20 million). These new projects with the addition of the estimated $73.5 million+ investment will likely create an additional 2,094 jobs in Washoe County.

Investment in our transit system also provides opportunity for economic vitality. Public transit creates sustainability and livability, as well as opportunities for redevelopment. It also serves to boost our economy and support job creation.

Approximately 1,400 jobs were created with the recently constructed RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA and the current construction of RTC 4TH STREET STATION. Along with the introduction of the RTC RAPID service on the Virginia Street Corridor, the RTC is laying the foundation to promote development and create jobs in the Truckee Meadows with these community investments in public transit.

The work we have accomplished is a result of the many partnerships we continue to foster. Partnerships with the AGC and the construction and development community; NDOT, RSCVA, and UNR, among others, as well as with local and federal governments.

As we move forward, our mission is the enhancement of these private and public sector partnerships and with the community as a whole. Together, we’re investing today to build our future for a resilient and prosperous economy.

*Source: Economics Professor Stephen Fuller of George Mason University and Associated General Contractors of America


New Jobs Bill Creates Uncertainty
Hours after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a draft “jobs” bill to address current economic conditions, which had bipartisan support; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered instead a scaled-down version. He also announced that the Senate will consider this version of the legislation on Monday, February 22, following the week-long President’s Day recess. The Reid “jobs” legislation contains the same provisions related to the highway program as in the Baucus/Grassley bill as follows:

  • Extends authorization for the highway and transit programs at FY 2009 funding levels though December 31, 2010;
  • Provides $19.5 billion in revenue to the Highway Trust Fund to keep the program solvent into 2011. This transfer would reimburse the HTF for $19.5 billion in lost interest payments since 1998;
  • Shifts the cost of motor fuel tax exemptions for state and local governments from the HTF to the general fund. This would provide ongoing HTF revenue of approximately $1.5 billion each year;
  • Restores spending authority lost from an $8.7 billion rescission of contract authority contained SAFETEA-LU.
The current extension of the highway and transit program authorization expires on February 28, and because of federal budget rules it is important that the extension and transfer of funds happen before that deadline. Every state will lose funding if this fix is not approved.

This new twist will make meeting this deadline even more difficult. If you have not yet done so, please contact your senators, particularly Republican senators, and tell them to support an extension of the highway and transit program with additional revenue through the end of the year. Inform them that failure to pass the extension and the additional program revenue will have a direct impact on FHWA’s ability to reimburse your state DOT for ongoing construction projects and could cause your DOT to cancel scheduled lettings.

Riding the Rails to Construction Jobs
The American Magline Group said it’s going to need the construction community to woo the federal government to support its plan to build a magnetic levitation train from Las Vegas to Anaheim and fulfill the promise of 90,000 jobs. Click here to read more.

Nevada’s exclusion from the 31 states that will benefit from federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail (Click here to read more.) should not be seen as a deal killer, but instead a chance to bring strong coordination and a full-court press to marry a powerful case for high-speed rail in the Mountain West. Click here to read more.

Stimulus Money Continues to Avoid Some of Nevada: Transportation Cashes In
The swing and miss on the rail funds is the latest example of Nevada’s poor track record in securing stimulus money from the federal government, according to one report. Click here to read more.

But transportation officials are touting the projects that will take advantage of the $270 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Click here to read more on the $201 million that NDOT received as part of the federal ARRA highway funding, all 17 counties received funding totaling 69 projects statewide.

More than $120 million went to projects in Clark County and an estimated $26 million is going to the construction of the I-580/ Meadowood Interchange project in Washoe County. Click here to read more.

Local Projects: Las Vegas Beltway Completion on Hold; Reno’s Southeast Connector to be Phased-in
Clark County officials opened a key part of the Las Vegas Beltway on Wednesday, but work on upgrading the remainder of the beltway is on hold. Click here to read more.

In Reno, the Regional Transportation Commission is looking at a phased approach to the ambitious and congestion-relieving Southeast Connector. Click here to read more.

Not So Smart: Nation Lags in Intelligent Transportation Plans, Infrastructure Investment
The United States is lagging behind other world leaders in the use of new technologies to address traffic congestion, CO2 emissions, traffic crashes, and other major challenges.

Japan, South Korea and Singapore were ranked as the top three nations in the effective deployment of intelligent transportation systems (ITS), according to the report – Explaining International IT Leadership: Intelligent Transportation Systems - issued by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Click here to read more.

New York Times reporter Bob Herbert also called out the lack of infrastructure investment and how it erodes U.S. economy. Click here to read more.

The U.S. Senate did extend the SAFETEA-LU program in a pair of jobs bills. Each would extend highway and transit programs through the end of 2010, as well as transfer $19.5 billion from the United States General Trust Fund to the Highway Trust Fund in interest foregone since 1998. Click here to read more.

nevada highway users coalition