Las Vegas Sun

October 24, 2014

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Board alerts congressional delegation to ramifications of highway funding loss

CARSON CITY – Facing a loss of more than $350 million in federal highway funds, the state transportation board voted Monday to alert Nevada’s congressional delegation this could mean more than 20 future major projects could be delayed or scrapped.

With a summer deadline looming for congressional action to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund and the prospect of a stalemate growing, the board also began work on its contingency plans for state project

Gov. Brian Sandoval, who heads the state transportation board, said inaction by Congress in passing a highway authorization bill could cost 6,000 jobs in Nevada.

The board approved a plan to cut or delay the future projects if Congress fails to act.

John Terry, assistant director for the Nevada Department of Transportation, said the state already had obligated federal money for Project Neon in Las Vegas, so there would be no major immediate problem. And he said the Boulder City bypass carries a high priority.

But under the contingency plan approved by the board, the $40 million improvement at Interstate 15 and State Route 593 at Tropicana Avenue would be deleted from its five-year plan. The project was scheduled to start in 2017.

Among other projects cancelled would be a $40-million job adding capacity on Interstate 515 from Charleston Boulevard to I-15. The project was set to begin in 2017.

The $47 million in improvements on State Route 160 in Clark County would be removed from the five-year plan. The project was scheduled to begin in 2018.

Board member John Fransway, Winnemucca, said the federal government should reimburse the state for any money spent on these delayed projects.

“We have to plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Fransway said.

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