Maryland Pkwy, cleaner RTC fleet among projects in line for infrastructure act funding

By: - November 23, 2021 5:41 am

“The $4 billion that comes to Nevada through different types of funding streams will start coming in the next six months,” Sen. Jacky Rosen said. (Photo: Michael Lyle)

Poor road conditions caused by potholes or cracked and uneven roads, often worsened because of a lack of investment in infrastructure, are more than just a minor inconvenience, said U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen.

Among the many consequences, transit-related problems have costly effects on people and result in higher commute times, which are worse for communities of color that are twice as likely to use public transportation to commute.

“These problems, the potholes, the cracks, the bridges, they increase commute times,” she said. “They cause safety hazards and cost Nevada drivers $500 every year in car repairs because of the poor conditions of our roads. That’s $500 they can use for something better.”

Rosen, along with Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, spoke Monday at a Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s Sunset Maintenance Facility about how incoming federal funds could potentially begin to address the state’s transportation deficits. 

The event comes a week after President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Rosen said will allocate around $4 billion to Nevada.

“We made a promise to finally take action to restore and improve our crumbling infrastructure, to create good-paying jobs, union jobs, to improve quality of life,” Rosen said. “After years of inaction and partisan gridlock, I’m proud to say we delivered.”

Of the various funding provisions within the bill for physical infrastructure, Nevada is expected to receive $2.5 billion in federal-aid highway apportioned funding, $459 million for public transportation and $225 million for bridge replacement.

Funding from the legislation is expected to start in 2022 and “go on through a period of five years,” Rosen said. 

“The $4 billion that comes to Nevada through different types of funding streams will start coming in the next six months,” she said. “(Funds) will come through the state to qualified communities, state agencies and localities through different grant programs and streams.”

With 28 bridges and more than 1,000 miles of highways in poor condition, Nevada has a lot of infrastructure that needs attention.

Jones said there will be state and local coordination and collaboration to identify key transportation projects. 

The event Monday provided a regional outlook on how funds could be allocated. 

“Over the next five years, the RTC will receive more than $150 million in new funding to improve roadways through projects that support safety, equity, modernization and climate action, which is especially important for this region,” Jones said. 

The RTC has a goal to transition to a 100% zero emission fleet of buses by 2035, which Jones said will be done by “utilizing a combination of battery, electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.” 

“The (infrastructure bill) will not only accelerate this fleet transition, but it will also provide opportunities for critical charging and refueling infrastructure,” he said.

The switch, he added, is also important for communities of color who “are more likely to use transit but also more likely to suffer the effects of pollution.”   

In addition to increasing funding streams, the infrastructure bill also allows local and state agencies, like the RTC, to compete for more than $100 billion in new federal grants.

Jones highlighted a number of transit projects that could see an infusion of money, which could increase access to transportation and boost community safety. 

“One such initiative that will benefit greatly from this monumental investment in competitive grants is the Maryland Parkway bus rapid transit project,” Jones said. “This $300 million investment will improve safety, enhance mobility and spur job creation and new development along a key corridor where more than 90,000 people live.” 

With an increased number of severe crashes in Southern Nevada this year, Jones added money could be used to invest in upgrading traffic signal control software to help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities. 

“Although Southern Nevada’s long term funding challenges for roadways and transit still need to be addressed, this bill provides clarity and certainty over the next five years in regards to efforts to plan and fund projects improving our transportation network,” Jones said.

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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.

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