weather icon Clear

RTC confident funding won’t be issue for Maryland Parkway project

As the environmental assessment of the Maryland Parkway bus rapid transit plan winds down, attention will turn to how to pay for the upgraded bus system.

The $345 million enhanced bus route option was chosen in April by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada over a possible light rail project that would have cost over $1 billion.

RTC officials are confident they can raise the money needed without additional taxes, though there is a chance an increase in the sales tax could be used for it and other transportation needs.

The local funding source for $230 million of the project has been identified — $125 million in fuel revenue index tax and $105 million from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program, according to David Swallow, senior director of engineering and technology for the RTC.

The remaining $115 million is expected to come from grants through the federal Transportation Administration’s New Start program. Those would be requested during two grant cycles, one in 2020 and 2021, with the decision on that money due in the spring of 2022.

Plans call for the construction to begin on the project at the end of 2022 and for completion of the project in 2024.

The RTC anticipates the Maryland Parkway project would be rated as a medium to medium-high priority by the federal government. The plan would compete against other transportation projects nationally, so there is no guarantee any federal funds will be awarded.

“I think in terms of funding, I think we have a highly competitive project,” Swallow said. “I don’t want to say we’re guaranteed, because nobody is guaranteed to get anything. But from our perspective, we look really strong right now.”

If the funding comes up short, more money could come from funding already earmarked for the project, Swallow said.

“What we’re trying to do is leverage as much federal investment as we can out of that,” Swallow said. “The New Start funds are competitive … so whatever we don’t get in new starts we’ll make up for with CMAQ funds.”

Brij Gulati, manager of engineering for the RTC, said if federal funding came in short, the RTC could proceed with a scaled-back version of the project or initiate a ballot question asking voters to raise the sales tax to support increased transit spending.

If it were approved, the money raised would go for more than just the Maryland Parkway project.

The RTC received authority during the 2017 legislative session to propose a ballot measure tied to increasing the sales tax. It got an extension until 2024 during this year’s legislative session.

“We’re assessing things right now and we’re not sure we want to go forward with a ballot measure,” Swallow said. “It’s really going to require some input from the community before we make a recommendation to our board to go forward.”

The enhanced bus system would cover an 8.7-mile route, stretching from Maryland Parkway near McCarran International Airport to the Bonneville Transit Center in Downtown Las Vegas and then on to the Las Vegas Medical District.

There would be 24 stops on the route at an average distance of ⅓ of a mile instead of the ¼ of a mile spacing seen now on Route 109, which covers the same route.

Ridership is projected to increase from 9,000 per day on the current Route 109 to 13,300 per day under bus rapid transit.

The average travel time is expected to decrease to 38 minutes with bus rapid transit, from 45 minutes on the existing route.

The project involves adjusting the roadway to include two general purpose travel lanes, a dedicated bus lane and a bike lane, located between the bus lane and the sidewalk, and building new bus stops.

“The construction will be essentially rehauling the entire corridor,” Gulati said at an RTC subcommittee meeting Wednesday. “It would be major construction.”

All things considered, Swallow likes the position the RTC is in as far as the Maryland Parkway project goes and said plans are to proceed as if all the funding will come through.

“Maryland Parkway is going forward as is,” he said. “There’s still some project development we still need to go through, but we have the funding that we need to go forward with Maryland Parkway.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Seven Magic Tires
“Seven Magic Tires,” created by Las Vegas artists Justin Favela and Ramiro Gomez, substitutes piles of tires for hefty boulders to recreate the scale model. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Warehouse fire in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas Fire Department PIO Nino Galloway gives an update on the fire at a warehouse on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Woman's memoir reflects on her fresh start in Las Vegas
Etta Baykara, 91, who plays accordion in a polka band, wrote a memoir that includes growing up on a farm to her move to California and then Las Vegas where she claims she is the happiest. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Behind the scenes at Broadacres Marketplace
Evelyn Sanchez, Broadacres Marketplace marketing and event director, talks about the offerings at the dynamic swap meet in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Teen talks about alleged sexual assault at Las Vegas grocery store
A 17-year old says she was groped and then sexually assaulted by a loss-prevention specialist at an Albertsons store in east Las Vegas. The subject's voice has been distorted to protect her identity. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson officials tried to lure Arizona Diamondbacks from Phoenix
Henderson officials tried to lure Arizona Diamondbacks from Phoenix with four potential stadium sites in mind, including one behind the future home of the future Raiders headquarters. Discussions between the team and the city stalled out, but Henderson still wants to attract professional sports to the area.(Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Grasshoppers swarm Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is swarmed by pallid-winged grashoppers on July 25, 2019. The grasshoppers have infested the Las Vegas valley after an unseasonably wet winter and spring, experts say.(@365inVegas/Twitter)
Aviators splash pad lets fans stay cool
Las Vegas Ballpark’s splash pad area is the perfect place to keep cool while enjoying the game. (Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Grasshoppers invade Las Vegas
The grasshoppers came out at night in northwest Las Vegas on Thursday. Lights at a local gas station attracted hundreds of the insects. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD superintendent says dean positions will not be eliminated
Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara discusses budget adjustments for the district after listening sessions with principals, teachers and support professionals. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson rain
Rain falls in Henderson on Wednesday, July 24, 2019.
Monsoon season begins in the Las Vegas Valley
Rain dropped in Henderson on Wednesday morning as monsoon season begins in the Las Vegas area. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson Fire Department on checking back seats in the heat - Video
The Henderson Fire Department talks about double-checking car seats in the Las Vegas heat to remember children who may be in the car. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Take the Red E Bike tour of Red Rock Canyon
The Red E Bike tour of Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas starts at the visitors center for a three-hour, 17-mile ride. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Steve Meriwether talks about his son, who was killed by a drunk driver
Retired Metro sergeant Steve Meriwether talks about his son, Garrett Meriwether, who was killed by a drunk driver. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Earthquake might have caused Pahrump man's death
Officials in Pahrump believe that the recent Fourth of July earthquake caused the death of resident Troy Ray as he was working on his car. If true, it will be the first earthquake-related death in the state in recorded history, according to research geologist Craig dePolo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Earthquake-related death reported in Pahrump
The Nye County Sheriff's Office investigated a man's death reported on July 9 that may have been related to a Southern California earthquake that occurred on July 4 and was felt in Southern Nevada. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Fire in Arts District in downtown Las Vegas
Fire in Arts District in downtown Las Vegas on July 6, 2019. (Angus Kelly)
10th Anniversary of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the coming week. Director Marwan Sabbagh talks about what the center offers, what they've achieved and what is next in the work of degenerative brain disease. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol pulls over hearse in HOV lane
A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper pulled over the driver of a hearse, which was carrying a body, in an HOV lane in Las Vegas, July 1, 2019. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Summer In Las Vegas
Summer In Las Vegas (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Train derails in Northern Nevada - VIDEO
A train carrying ammunition derailed near Wells in Northern Nevada on Wed., June 19, 2019, closing part of Interstate 80, authorities said. (Michael Lyday/Twitter)
Fire damages an office complex in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
A fire causes heavy damage to an office complex at 3900 Paradise Rd. in Las Vegas on June 17, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Crash closes Las Vegas Blvd. near Fremont Street
A vehicle fleeing police crashed in the area of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Courtesy Andy Herrera)
Clark County's third poet laureate
Heather Lang-Cassera, who will be Clark County's third poet laureate on June 1, is interviewed at the Writer's Block bookstore in Las Vegas, Friday, May 24, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead, two critical in Henderson shooting
One person is dead and two juveniles are in critical condition after a Friday morning shooting in Henderson, police said. During a briefing at the scene on Friday, Lt. Kirk Moore said the preliminary investigation has revealed that this incident is likely narcotics-related.
A man whose wives were found dead 8 years apart under similar circumstances is denied bail - VIDEO
Alan Sylwester, the man suspected of killing his wife, was denied bail again Wednesday morning during his preliminary hearing in Henderson.
Chief deputy district attorney: “Justice was done” in child pornography case - VIDEO
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney James Sweetin speaks with the media after the sentencing of Christopher Sena, the man who was found guilty in February of multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor, incest, use of a minor in the production of pornography, lewdness with a child younger than 14 and child abuse. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Spring Mountain horses don't mind the snow
Snowfall made a return to the Spring Mountains overnight, May 19, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)