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August 27, 2015

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Opponents of Boulder City bypass plan cite job preference issue

Boulder City Traffic

Traffic leaves town heading toward Henderson on U.S. 93 near Veterans Memorial Drive in Boulder City on Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. Launch slideshow »

CARSON CITY – Building a $400 million bypass around Boulder City would create about 14,000 jobs, but opponents to the proposal complained that there would be no preference given for Nevada contractors and employees to get those jobs.

Jack Mallory, of the Southern Nevada Building Trades Council, told the Senate Finance Committee that the proposed privately financed toll road is “bad fiscal policy.”

Mallory said contractors from out of state could get the job and bring their workers to Southern Nevada.

Scott Rawlins, the state's deputy transportation director, said that when federal funds are used, no local preference can be given to contractors or workers.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said there are 86,000 construction workers out of work in Southern Nevada. He questioned why there couldn't be a local preference given to contractors and workers.

Chris Ferrari, representing the Nevada Contractors Association, said local companies were “chopping at the bit” to get work.

Senate Bill 83 will allow private financing of new highways in the state -- not only the proposed Boulder City bypass -- and tolls could be charged for companies to recover their money.

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said two private companies have approached him about possibly financing the project. He said the proposed freeway would bring money to the state and relieve traffic jams in Boulder City created by the opening of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge.

Mallory said state bonds could be issued for the project, which would allow for a local preference for workers. The committee didn't take action on the bill.

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