weather icon Partly Cloudy

Obama signs bill designating I-11 freeway through Nye County

WASHINGTON — Nevada will receive millions in new transportation dollars and a significant interstate designation was given to a future route linking Las Vegas and Reno through Nye County under a five-year, $305 billion measure signed into law Friday by President Barack Obama.

In addition to the additional funding, an official with the Nevada Department of Transportation singled out the law’s new emphasis and funding on freight, which has been promoted by sponsors in Congress.

“NDOT is very happy about that,” said Sondra Rosenberg, the agency’s assistant director of Planning. “We are in the process of developing a statewide freight plan which is identifying strategic priorities for the freight system to support the economic development, safety, and mobility goals of the state.”

Rosenberg said her department is still working through the 1,300-page law but added that so far it appears that most of the current programs remained intact with minor funding increases.

“Nevada will see an increase in formula funding of approximately $170 million over the 5 years,” she said.

As the measure moved through both houses of Congress in recent days, Nevada’s six-member congressional delegation voted 5-1 in favor.

Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Dean Heller supported it when the Senate approved it 83 to 16. In the House, which earlier had voted 359 to 65 for the measure, Republicans Cresent Hardy and Joe Heck and Democrat Dina Titus backed its passage.

Republican Mark Amodei opposed the bill, pointing to what he described as irresponsible funding provisions.

“To call these pay-fors gimmicky is being kind,” Amodei said.

“At best they only exist on paper. At worst, they are a misappropriation of funds intended for purposes other than our highways.”

He also criticized as an “unwise bet” provisions on selling oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve “at a loss” and “assuming the use of private debt collection agencies will aid the IRS in collecting back taxes.”

Others in the delegation stressed the funding certainty a five-year authorization bill provides Nevada.

With chances of increasing the fuel tax all but nil — it has remained at 18.4 cents per gallon since the 1993 — sponsors of the legislation had to turn to other sources to help the Highway Trust Fund pay for popular programs such as highway, rail and transit.

“In the past 10 years, we have had more than 35 short-term transportation spending fixes,” said Hardy, who is vice chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Highways and Transit Subcommittee and was a member of the House-Senate conference committee that hammered out the final version of the bill.

“When government fails to provide a long-term road map to success, it is our local communities that pay the price. Nevadans can now look forward to smoother roads in more ways than one.”

Both Heller and Reid focused on the provisions that advance the priority designation of Interstate 11 from Phoenix to Las Vegas and north along the U.S. Highway 95 corridor to Interstate 80.

Although still in the preliminary stages, the proposed road will meet interstate standards, according to state transportation officials. At a minimum, that means it will have at least two lanes in each direction and a divider made up of space or a railing.

The bill signed into law Friday is an authorization measure and does provide specific funding for the future route.

— Contact Jim Myers at jmyers@reviewjournal.com. Follow him: @myers_dc

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Poll shows Nevadans support trading caucus for primary

A new poll of Nevada voters released Monday found bipartisan support for getting rid of the caucus system in favor of presidential preference primary elections.

Lake Powell drops to lowest level in reservoir’s history

“This is a benchmark moment,” Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, said Sunday. “And it’s not going to be the last one this summer.”

Buffalo Soldiers Day in Nevada celebrated for 3rd year

Nevada’s third Buffalo Soldiers Day was celebrated Saturday to honor the country’s all-Black military units.

Face mask backers urge Board of Regents to make them mandatory for all

Proponents of face masks on college campuses this fall on Friday urged the Nevada Board of Regents to go beyond a mandate for employees OK’d by the Clark County Commission.

Adam Sullivan confirmed as Nevada State Engineer

After serving as “acting” Nevada state engineer and administrator of the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) for the past seven months, Adam Sullivan has now been confirmed in those positions, with his official appointment reported in a press release issued Tuesday, July 20.

Pahrump Back to School Fair set for July 31

It is once again that time of year when parents and students must turn their thoughts to the coming school term and begin preparing for another nine months of academic endeavors. With the 2021-2022 school year set to begin on Tuesday, August 10 in Nye County, in an effort to help ensure that area families are ready to send their children back to the classroom, be it virtual or in person, the NyE Communities Coalition is now gearing up for its annual Back to School Fair.

Nye County opposing NASA land proposal

In Nevada, mining is a major industry, bringing in millions of dollars in taxes every year and employing thousands of workers in high-paying positions that help support the local economy but much of the mining operations in the Silver State rely on access to federally controlled lands.

Pahrump Lions take audiences on emotional journey with “Love Letters”

It was an emotional roller-coaster ride of a weekend for audiences at Sanders Family Winery, who were treated to two nights of theatrical entertainment from the Pahrump Valley Lions Club with the A.R. Gurney play “Love Letters”.