WASHINGTON — Plans to build an interstate highway between Las Vegas and Phoenix drew some positive feedback from Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a White House meeting this week, according to a Nevada lawmaker.
Rep. Steven Horsford said the Cabinet secretary agreed to meet with members of Congress from Arizona and Nevada who have formed a caucus to promote I-11.
Horsford said he issued the invitation as House Democrats met on Tuesday evening with President Barack Obama and top administration officials. Besides hearing from Obama, lawmakers took the opportunity to buttonhole his deputies on their local needs.
The proposed I-11 has become the priority of business interests who say the roadway could make Southern Nevada a crossroads of commerce in the intermountain West. The roughly 300-mile stretch between Phoenix and Las Vegas would be a key segment in a route that would eventually link Mexico to Canada.
Foxx was familiar with the I-11 effort, Horsford said.
“He had knowledge that this was a priority and he knew that the initial corridor designation had been made,” the Nevadan said. “He said with the president’s focus on infrastructure he thought this was the type of project we needed to advance.”
“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that project is at the top of the priority list as infrastructure funding becomes available,” Horsford said.
The lawmaker, whose district includes all or part of seven rural counties in addition to an urban slice of Clark County, said he also obtained an assurance that Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki will render a final decision shortly on a new VA clinic for Pahrump in Nye County.
“The funding has been approved, the procurement is done but because of the amount of the project it requires the secretary’s approval,” Horsford said.
The wait has been more than a year but “Secretary Shinseki assured me we would get an answer,” Horsford said. The lawmaker attributed the delay to “the slow federal process and the bureaucracy.”
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at 202-783-1760 or STetreault@stephensmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.