The Regional Transportation Commission has 60 projects on its Christmas wish list.
But will the $1 billion price tag be funded by the jolly old Congress members in Washington?
Sen. Harry Reid indicated Monday that the $1 billion and a lot more could be available for investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure as part of a massive federal economic stimulus package aimed at kick-starting the economy and creating jobs.
“There’s no question it’s going to be passed,” Reid, D-Nev., said about the stimulus package at a joint news conference with Southern Nevada transportation officials. “It’s a question of how robust it is.
“I think without any question it will be $750 (billion) to $800 billion, and much of that will go right into infrastructure,” the Senate majority leader said.
Transportation officials said that for every $1 billion invested in transportation projects, an estimated 47,000 jobs are created.
The Transportation Commission’s wish list includes $200million to improve the Airport Connector at Interstate 215; $82 million to upgrade the Las Vegas Beltway, from North Decatur Boulevard to North 5th Street in the northern valley; and $55 million to construct a new Interstate 15 interchange at Cactus Road in the southern valley.
All 60 projects could be ready to move forward within 180 days after the federal government allocates funding, said Transportation Commission General Manager Jacob Snow.
Indications from Washington are that if economic stimulus money isn’t spent within six months, the funding will be taken away and reallocated, Snow said.
The wish list also includes $136 million in public transit projects and $122 million in roadway rehabilitation projects.
“All of these projects would be beneficial to Southern Nevada,” Snow said.
It won’t be clear until the new administration takes over in January how much funding will be available.
Once this is known, the 60 projects will be prioritized to “identify the projects that give us the biggest bang for our buck,” Snow said.
Reid said he had not spoken with President-elect Barack Obama about where the funding for the economic stimulus package would come from.
“What has been talked about in recent months is to spend the money,” he said.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2904.