nevada highway users coalition
March 26, 2010
Dear Highway User:

Following last month’s success in the Nevada Legislature Special Session with the passage of Senate Bill 5, Congress is now acting on highway funding. Legislation to back fill the highway funding shortfall has begun, most recently through the passage of the “HIRE Act.”

Initially, the act extends the Federal Highway Program Authorization through December 31, 2010 at current funding levels. Since last fall, short term funding on a month to month extension has been authorized. Certain long-term and complex transportation projects were unable to proceed without a long term funding commitment. The “HIRE Act” will allow many of these projects to proceed, while a six year extension of surface transportation legislation is considered.

The bill also restores $19.5 billion in interest payments foregone on the trust fund’s previous cash balances. This includes $12 billion in highway spending authority cut by Congress on September 30, 2009, and subsequently by another budget rescission.

The act includes $4.6 billion in additional authority for Build America Bonds. This will assist state and local governments in funding infrastructure projects. The bill also includes language to encourage immediate capital expenditures, which will generate equipment purchases, putting manufacturing employees to work.

Based on recent Federal job estimates, this should bring more than 500,000 skilled American craft workers back to work on transportation projects, rebuilding highways and repairing unsafe and obsolete bridges.

This legislation, which received bipartisan support in Congress, is a hopeful sign that our elected representatives are finally addressing this crisis. High unemployment, reduced materials costs and our aging infrastructure have created a golden opportunity to once again make our transportation system the envy of the free world.

Through addressing these needs immediately, we put Americans to work, increase productivity and invest in our future.

In other words, we all win.

Click here to read more.

The Nevada Highway User’s Coalition

Did You Know?
The following is a listing of regionally significant highways in the state of Nevada
NOT maintained by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Clark County 215: A freeway and expressway comprising of non-interstate portion of the Las Vegas Beltway built and maintained by Clark County.

Summerlin Parkway: A freeway in Las Vegas maintained by the City of Las Vegas.

U S A Parkway: A four-lane road east of Reno serving the Tahoe – Reno Industrial Center.

Source: 2010

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Will the Future of Transportation be in Robo Cars?
(See article under National News)
Photo: Wall Street Journal- March 20, 2010

Guest Columnist - Kelvin Atkinson - Chairman, Assembly Transportation Committee
The employment prospects for road construction crews will soon improve swiftly and significantly.

The legislature passed, and Governor Jim Gibbons signed, Senate Bill 5 (SB5) from the 26th Special Legislative Session. This bill will allow the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission to soon begin work on needed projects throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

SB5 allows for bonding of nearly 100 road projects to accommodate the significant growth in Clark County over the past two decades.

The bill, passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature in the final hours of the special session, will help reduce the staggering construction unemployment rate, which in Southern Nevada is the worst of all 337 U.S. communities surveyed by the AGC of America.

This bill is a true Nevada stimulus package. Most all jobs created in this bill will be private-sector work with approximately one third direct construction jobs, and the remainder induced or indirect jobs.

SB5 allows a portion of the assessment for the state's Fund for Cleaning up Discharges of Petroleum to be redirected to support funding road construction across the state. This portion of the bill would generate 600 Clark County Jobs and 275 additional jobs across the state this year.

The second transportation-related element of the bill allowed the continuation of 1/8 cent sales tax to support RTC road projects.

That portion of the increase was set to expire in 2028 or when $1.7 billion is raised, whichever happens first. State legislators were told during the special session that the tax collected is quickly approaching the maximum funding level. SB 5 will remove the expiration date, allowing as much as $25 million a year to be generated to set up a $400 million bond program for transportation projects.

By removing the 2028 sunset, the Clark County RTC will generate construction projects that will create 5,600 more jobs this year and next year in Southern Nevada. This is not a new tax.

We will be creating construction jobs very quickly at a time when we need them the most. As Nevadans return to work, we will begin the journey of rebuilding and expanding our transportation system to match the future needs of our citizens.

Nevada News

Washoe County RTC 5 Update - 2009 Calendar Year in Review

  • Largest year of programming- ($83.3 million) Projects came in 27.2% under budget
  • All projects were completed ahead of schedule- No projects completed late
  • RTC received 96% customer satisfaction
  • 88.6 miles of existing streets reconstructed
  • 176 ADA pedestrian ramps installed
  • 130 streets - 201 lane miles of streets slurry sealed and treated

Nevada Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Fee Study Committee to Meet
Nevada is at a crossroads when it comes to funding much needed transportation projects. Fuel taxes are not keeping pace as a viable mechanism for funding transportation needs.

The VMT fee study is being conducted by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and the Regional Transportation Commissions (RTC) of Washoe County and Southern Nevada. The VMT study will evaluate VMT fees as a potential fuel tax replacement.

Public information meetings will be held in Reno from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 30 at the Reno- Sparks Convention Center in Room A-3 and in Las Vegas from 4:00-7:00 p.m., on Thursday, April 29 at the Clark County Government Complex in the Pyramid Building. Additional information can be found at

Major Reno-Area Freeway Projects to Start in Months-
NDOT Targets Bottlenecks

Three major freeway projects, including a new interchange at U.S. 395 and Meadowood Way, are slated for this year, and construction of two of them should begin soon. A third, born from federal stimulus money will improve interchanges and access along I-80 from Robb Driver to Vista and will be northern Nevada’s first highway design-build project. Click here to read more.

$45 Million for Maglev Shifted to Airport Road Project
When the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the award of $8 billion for 13 projects to build high-speed train systems along existing train corridors on Jan. 29, Las Vegas wasn’t on the list. Now money that was targeted for the maglev option for a Las Vegas to Southern California route is going to congestion relief around the airport-215 ring road. Click here to read more.

Despite the funding shift, Sen. Harry Reid says he’s not blocking the project. Click here to read more.

Bridge Will Transform Hoover Dam from Bottleneck to Dead End - Fall Opening Will Focus on Visitation Numbers
Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that operates the dam, are preparing for the transition from a major interstate traffic corridor to a place people visit only by choice. The huge bridge project will open this fall. Click here to read more.

National News
Will the Future of Transportation be in Robo Cars?
Consumers are buying cars that steer themselves; accelerate and brake to maintain a safe driving distance from cars ahead; and detect and avoid collisions with other cars on all sides. Making them completely driverless will involve little more than a software upgrade.
Yet the potential for advanced personal mobility is being ignored in debates over surface transportation. These debates come to a head every six years, when Congress hashes out how to spend federal gas tax revenues. Congress has increasingly diverted the funds—$40 billion a year by last count—from highways to transit. Click here to read more.

Highway Deaths Drop to Lowest Level Since 1950s
The number of people dying on the highway is the lowest since the 1950s. The Transportation Department said this month that its projections show total traffic deaths declined nearly 9 % in 2009 — to 33,963. That's the lowest toll since 1954. In 2008, an estimated 37,261 people died on the roadways. Increased seat belt use and safer vehicles are two cited reasons for the decrease. Click here to read more.

Campaign Against Federal Earmarking May Change Local Highway Revenue Picture
Earmarking money in long-term transportation policy bills may get a tough look from Congress which is looking to end this perceived budget-buster. According to one lawmaker the growth in congressional earmarking of transport funds "distorts the operation of the federal-aid highway and transit programs.” Lawmaker-directed spending circumvents state and local "planning, review, and selection processes." Click here to read more.

nevada highway users coalition