Bill redirects federal funds

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fulfilled a promise Wednesday by redirecting $45 million originally set aside to build a magnetic levitation train between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area.

Reid reallocated the funds to major highway projects as part of a federal jobs bill, saying it would put people to work immediately. Reid recommended the funding go to the Nevada Department of Transportation to widen the connector road between McCarran International Airport and the Las Vegas Beltway.

President Barack Obama must sign the bill.

Reid, originally a proponent of the maglev train, switched alliances last summer to the steel-wheeled, Victorville-bound DesertXpress project after growing frustrated with the maglev’s slow progress. He announced last year that he would reallocate the $45 million he secured for the high-speed train.

Reid indicated he has spoken to representatives of the state Transportation Department as well as government entities within Clark County, and they all agreed to redirect the funding.

“We agreed that redirecting the funds from Maglev to NDOT, with the intent that the money be applied to widening the airport connector at McCarran and 215, will have the biggest immediate impact for job creation and relief from traffic congestion,” Reid said. “I urge the governor to put these funds to work immediately to protect Nevadans’ jobs and ensure the completion of a project that will result in reduced congestion for a faster, safer commute.”

If Obama signs the bill, crews will be put to work on a new interchange linking the Las Vegas Beltway and McCarran, a priority project for the Regional Transportation Commission. According to the county’s public works division, the $132 million interchange project is necessary for operations at the airport and needed to provide a more efficient north-south corridor between residential neighborhoods and employment centers.

Gov. Jim Gibbons, a maglev supporter, has strongly opposed Reid’s idea to redirect the funding. Gibbons’ office consistently has argued that it would take an act of Congress, literally, to funnel the monies elsewhere. Reid representatives said that is exactly what Wednesday’s action was, an act of Congress.

“The $45 million is money he (Reid) secured, and he just wanted to make sure we wouldn’t lose the money,” said Jon Summers, a Reid spokesman. “They (maglev officials) haven’t made progress to speak of, and in a time we need jobs and have $45 million on the table, we might as well use it.”

Mark Fierro, who represents the maglev company, scoffed at the idea of a road project putting a significant dent in the state’s unemployment rate. Had Reid not interfered with the maglev train for the past year, the company would be preparing to lay down vertical steel, he said.

“This would have been so incredibly game changing. We wouldn’t be telling them (steel workers) that they’re going to work on Monday. We’d be telling them they’re going to work Monday for the next five years,” Fierro said of putting construction crews back to work. “This project is so massive, the first thing we would have had to do is put in parking lots (for workers).”

Gibbons’ office had little to say about the reallocation of the federal money and suggested that Reid might be deceiving Nevada residents.

“There appears to be some confusion inside the (Washington, D.C.) Beltway about the $45 million for the road project and the $45 million for the maglev,” said Gibbons’ spokesman Dan Burns, who declined to elaborate. “At this point, the state of Nevada is not sure.”

Burns also questioned whether Nevada’s Transportation Department was truly onboard with Reid’s plan.

Scott Magruder, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation, said the agency didn’t take a position on the matter.

“We did not ask for this or push for the redirection, but this is a viable project,” he said. “Any money that comes in to create construction jobs is good news for Nevada.”

Reid’s announcement was not a surprise to maglev supporters, who vowed to move forward with their plans to build the high-speed train with or without the senator’s support.

“We’re as alive as we were two days ago. We’re going to get that money,” Fierro said. “Irrespective, we’re moving forward. We’re in competition with a train that goes half the speed and stops in Victorville.”

In February, the American Magline Group announced that Chinese investors were willing to loan the maglev project $7 billion with the knowledge that if the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission is unable to pay it back, federal officials will. Summers said Reid has never taken a position on the proposal.

The magnet-powered train would be a $12 billion endeavor funded by private and public money. The train would ultimately travel between Las Vegas and Anaheim in about 81 minutes at speeds up to 300 mph. The DesertXpress would cost about $4 billion and ferry passengers to Victorville, Calif., in 84 minutes, traveling at speeds of up to 150 mph.

Summers said technology makes no difference to Reid; the senator simply wants to see a Nevada-California train built.

“The maglev is three times more expensive than the DesertXpress and it hasn’t been making any progress,” Summers said. “The DesertXpress is privately funded and it’s moving along. At the end of the day, technology doesn’t matter to him. It’s time to get it done.”

The DesertXpress has not publicly stated the financial status of the project. Summers said he suspects representatives are waiting until an environmental impact study is completed.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at apacker@ or 702-387-2904.

The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive Remembrance Wall
(Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive
Vitalent hosts a blood drive at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shootings. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October sunrise remembrance ceremony in Las Vegas
Myanda Smith, sister of Las Vegas shooting victim Neysa Tonks, speaks at the sunrise remembrance ceremony at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‪Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to crowd at Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬
‪Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to the crowd at the Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father of Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim talks about college scholarship in his daughter's memory
Chris Davis, father of a Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim, Neysa Tonks, talks about a college scholarship in his daughter's memory to assist the children of those who died in the shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Oct. 1 survivor Malinda Baldridge talks about life after the shooting
Malinda Baldridge of Reno attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with her daughter, Breanna, 17, and was shot twice in the leg when the gunman fired on the crowd.
Route 91 survivor talks about lack of progress in gun legislation
Heather Gooze, a Route 91 survivor, talks about lack of progress in gun legislation since the Oct 1. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas/Review-Journal) @reviewjournal
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Museum opening "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials"
The Clark County Museum is opening an exhibit "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials" of items left to honor the victims killed in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Michelle Obama and Keegan-Michael Key urge Nevadans to vote
Former first lady Michelle Obama and comedian Keegan-Michael Key urged Nevadans to vote at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
The world's longest racetrack could be coming to Pahrump
Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump might be the first racetrack in the world longer than 16 miles long once the expansion is complete. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Gold Point townsperson talks about why he choose to live in a ghost town
Gold Point townsperson Walt Kremin talks about the ghost town in Nevada he calls home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Search for missing 3-year-old boy at Sunset Park
Las Vegas police and Red Rock Search and Rescue team search for a missing child at Sunset Park in southeast Las Vegas on Sunday, Sept.2, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai speaks at Las Vegas tech conference
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan after advocating for girls' education, spoke at VMworld 2018 at Mandalay Bay. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like