Road project funding detailed


Who's the big winner? Clark County's the big winner.

At least that's according to a list circulated Wednesday by officials detailing how the Nevada Department of Transportation expects the federal stimulus money to be spent.

The preliminary list accounts for $209.4 million in "shovel ready" transportation projects, of which $109 million, or 52 percent, will be used for projects in Clark County.

About $27.6 million, or 13 percent, will be spent in Washoe County.

The remaining $72.8 million -- about 35 percent -- will be spent in rural counties, including Pershing, Elko, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Nye and Carson City.

Nevada received $201 million for transportation projects from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The $209.4 million is based on engineer estimates, said Kent Cooper, the Transportation Department's assistant director for engineering.

The list takes into consideration that over the past eight months construction project bids have come in about 15 percent lower than state and local engineer estimates, Cooper said.

If the bids come in higher than expected, state funding will fill in the gap, he said.

One of the requirements of the stimulus act is that any extra money received through a low bid must be reobligated to "shovel ready" projects, or the state could lose that funding.

Of the $201 million in federal stimulus money, about $140 million is allocated to the state Transportation Department to be spent however it sees fit. About $40 million will go to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, about $10 million will be given to the Washoe County metropolitan planning organization and $7 million must be spent on projects in rural counties.

A list leaked last week caused political controversy when it showed Washoe County getting 38 percent and Clark County only 14 percent of the $140 million that was suballocated to the state. Transportation officials insist that the first list did not account for several Clark County projects that appear on the second list.

Meanwhile, all but one of the Clark County projects -- a $9 million landscape project on U.S. Highway 95, from Martin Luther King Boulevard to the Rainbow Curve -- are paving projects.

In fact, nearly all of the projects prioritized on the second list are paving projects. Transportation officials have focused on paving projects because those projects can be put out to bid to create jobs quickly in every part of the state and meet deadlines put forth by the stimulus act.

Many of the projects must be out to bid within 120 days of President Barack Obama signing the law, which he did on Feb. 17, according to the rules of the stimulus act.

Transportation officials maintained that the list is only preliminary and still might change.

The Transportation Department's board of directors is expected to approve a final list at their March 12 meeting.

In the meantime, the list also shows four projects that the Transportation Department might apply for funding through a $1.5 billion grant program that was created with the stimulus act.

The list includes two super projects in Clark County, including the $250 million widening of Interstate 15, from Tropicana Avenue to Blue Diamond Road and the $155 million widening of U.S. Highway 95, from Ann Road to the Rainbow Curve.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904.

 

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