Nevada Democrats tout signing of bill bringing billions to the state

By: - November 15, 2021 3:42 pm

Nevadans posted social media photos of themselves at the bill signing ceremony at the White House Monday. Left, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto with fellow Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virgina. Right. Rep. Susie Lee and other members of Congress with President Joe Biden.

Nevada Democrats took a victory lap Monday after the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which allocated billions to the state for roads, highways and airports, was signed into law by President Joe Biden. 

The bill is expected to make long-needed investments in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure to repair roads and bridges, modernize transportation, address the digital divide through increased access to broadband and mitigate drought and wildfires threats.

“For far too long, Washington did not prioritize our crumbling infrastructure,” said U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen in a statement. “This bipartisan package will deliver reliable and more affordable high-speed internet to those who need it, modernize our airports, fix our bridges, repair and expand our highways, mitigate the threats of drought and wildfires, secure our electric grid from cyber attacks, and so much more.”

Among the numerous funding components provided by the infrastructure bill, the state is expected to receive $2.5 billion in federal-aid highway apportioned funding, $459 million for public transportation, $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs and $402 million for water infrastructure. 

The White House estimated there are 28 bridges and more than 1,090 miles of highway in Nevada in poor condition. 

The administration also noted that the lack of investments for public transportation has led to people spenindg “an extra 133.9% of their time commuting and non-white households are twice as more likely to community via public transportation.”

Rosen estimated nearly 9% of Nevadans live in areas without broadband infrastructure that can “provide even minimally acceptable speeds,” 72% of Nevadans live in areas with only one Internet provider, and 14% of households don’t have internet. 

The bill directs $100 million to the state for broadband infrastructure.

The infrastructure package also sets aside $8.3 billion for Western water infrastructure and drought resilience and $3.4 billion for wildfire prevention, which U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Cortez Masto said can be used to help “address many of the greatest challenges facing our state.”

“I worked hard to ensure that this bill would combat drought in Southern Nevada, help us prevent and fight wildfires in the North, and invest in our clean-energy economy that supports Nevada jobs and helps us address climate change,” she said Monday. “This legislation will make an enormous difference to Nevada, and I was proud to join President Biden as he signed it into law today.”

The Biden Administration initially announced a much more robust investment through the proposed American Jobs Plan. The original version transformed into the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed the Senate Aug. 10 and the House Nov. 5.

Some House Democrats initially refrained from voting on the infrastructure bill in hopes of coupling its vote with the social policy and climate spending bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, which is still undergoing intense negotiations. 

Nevada Democrats have said the infrastructure bill and the $1.85 trillion social policy bill, which includes investments in child care, extending the child tax credit, paid leave and housing infrastructure, would work in tandem to create jobs and promote economic recovery. 

Nevada’s House delegation voted for the infrastructure bill along party lines with Democrats Steven Horsford, Susie Lee and Dina Titus voting in favor of the legislation, and Republican Mark Amodei voting no.

Both Nevada senators as well as Lee and Titus noted in statements or on social media that they attended the signing ceremony.

“It was an honor to witness @POTUS sign the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law,” Lee said in a tweet that included her and other members of Congress photographed with Biden. “This once-in-a-generation legislation is proof that when we come together, we can find common-sense solutions and create a better future for our nation.”

“Now, Congress must continue to work together to pass” the Build Back Better Act, Lee added.

Titus said the legislation not only “makes the largest investment in almost a century in our infrastructure,” but will also lead to job creation and help reduce inflation.  

“It creates good-paying union jobs and provides resources for clean water, lead pipe replacement, broadband internet, and electric vehicle infrastructure,” she said in a statement Monday. “The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements in our nation’s ports, airports, rail, roads, bridges, and transit systems.” 

Gov. Steve Sisolak said historically that Nevada has suffered from a lack of investment.

He said the funding allocated by the infrastructure bill complements the work Nevada began earlier this year when the state directed $75 million the state toward the State Infrastructure Bank, which provides loans and state assistance to various projects, including repairing roads. 

“The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make life better for millions of Nevada residents, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth, and position our State and nation toward a path of success,” he said. “As we rebuild, our focus remains on strengthening our clean power production, enabling access to high-speed internet across our State, and helping improve sustainable transportation options for the over 3 million Nevadans who call this State their home.”   

After the bill passed the House Nov. 5, Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine said a Georgetown University study estimated the bill might create more than 140,000 over the next decade. 

He added the Nevada State Infrastructure Bank is expected to hold a meeting in the next few weeks to further discuss how the legislation will impact Nevada.

In addition to elected officials, progressive groups and unions also touted the importance of the bill’s passage. 

Susie Martinez, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO, said Biden made good on his promise to not only pass the bill but “to put our union brothers and sisters first. 

“This bill will bring billions of dollars to our state and create more than 140,000 jobs — putting Nevadans to work and allowing them to see the union difference for themselves with better wages, benefits, and working conditions,” she said. “President Biden is a lifelong supporter of workers and is once again standing with the labor movement by supporting this legislation and signing this bill into law. Next stop: the Build Back Better Act.”

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.