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Las Vegas Chamber teams with Arizona leaders to get I-11 money

WASHINGTON — Business leaders from Las Vegas and Arizona teamed up on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and announced an alliance to advocate for federal funds for the Interstate 11 highway that would eventually connect Mexico and Canada and run through Nevada.

Leaders in both Southwest states of Arizona and Nevada see the project as one that could bring a boom in trade and tourism to cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Reno.

Mary Beth Sewald, president and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, and Glenn Hamer, the chief executive officer of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, made the announcement of the coalition to fight for federal funding.

“This important infrastructure project will enhance the economies of communities along its route, create opportunities for economic development and job creation, and better connect businesses to new markets,” Sewald said.

Jill Lagan, chief executive officer of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce and Amber Stidham, government affairs director of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce announced that their groups would join the coalition.

The Las Vegas chamber is in Washington to lobby for regional projects. The group of 150 business leaders, the largest to participate in the annual lobbying trip, is meeting with the Trump administration and congressional members during the visit.

Funding for I-11 is just one of several projects sought by Southern Nevada. Building the freeway is expected to expedite trade from Mexico and Central American countries, as well as increase the number of tourists traveling from Phoenix and Tucson to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas business leaders are also seeking federal help to expand Interstate 15 into California and to establish a “bullet train” to Southern California to cut traffic snarls.

Despite a desire by the Trump administration, Democrats and Republicans to pass a massive infrastructure spending bill, Congress and the White House are at odds over the price tag.

Trump also has warned that he would not sign off on an infrastructure spending bill while House Democrats continue investigations into his personal finances, taxes, property and the possibility of obstruction of justice in the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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