The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada on Thursday asked state transportation officials to draw up a priority list of projects that would be specifically funded by money generated from the voter-approved fuel revenue indexing tax.
The move comes amid concerns by some RTC board members that Clark County might not be receiving a fair share of funding from the Nevada Department of Transportation and that some money may be diverted to other parts of the state.
“The list has to be there before we start allocating money,” said Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown, who served as chairman of the RTC board of directors.
The issue was raised for a second consecutive month after Henderson Mayor Debra March said that an NDOT project list no longer includes road improvements for Boulder Highway, where nine pedestrians were fatally struck by vehicles last year. NDOT is now asking the county and the cities of Henderson and Las Vegas to help pay for upgrades on Boulder.
However, March noted that NDOT has fast-tracked an environmental review for a project that calls for reconfiguring Reno’s version of the Spaghetti Bowl interchange at Interstates 80 and 580.
NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said Reno’s freeway project will be partially funded by bonds, but he acknowledged “that there’s a concern about equity that’s going on.”
Even though roughly two-thirds of Nevada’s population lives in Clark County, only half of the state’s transportation funds are spent here, Malfabon said. About 18 to 20 percent of state transportation funds are set aside for Washoe County, which makes up more than 15 percent of Nevada’s population.
Additionally, Malfabon said NDOT has “several lists” of prioritized road projects in Clark County, including one compiled in 2016 as the RTC campaigned in favor of Question 5, the voter-approved measure that extended the fuel revenue index tax for another decade.
“The list was never run by our transportation board. It was just something that was kept internal,” Malfabon said, later agreeing that NDOT should develop a project list for the sake of transparency.
RTC and NDOT officials said they will work together to compile a list of projects that will likely be funded by the fuel revenue indexing tax, with further discussion expected as soon as September.