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Proposed creation of ‘inland ports’ gains support

CARSON CITY — Legislators and business owners touted a bill Friday to create “inland ports” in several Nevada cities as a way to create jobs and to make it easier for Nevada businesses to export products.

Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, said Dallas, in particular, has used the inland ports to create manufacturing centers and the transportation facilities needed to quickly move goods. This has added $2 billion to the area’s economy, he said.

Dallas found it could improve the movement of goods by creating distribution and manufacturing centers close to railways, airports and highways, where imported goods could be brought and distributed and where new products could be manufactured.

“Our goal is to mimic Dallas here in the West,” Atkinson said.

Under the provisions of Assembly Bill 182, the Nevada Commission on Economic Development would be charged with setting up a board that would review plans and approve applications for inland ports.

No vote was taken on the bill after an Assembly Government Affairs meeting, but it is expected to pass since it is one of the key bills the majority Democrats are championing as a way to create jobs.

Atkinson said an inland port could be created at the vacant state prison in Jean, McCarran International Airport or North Las Vegas, while others said Sparks would be an ideal location.

He said government costs would be minimal as private companies would develop the manufacturing and transportation facilities.

But Robert Skinner, a developer in Northern Nevada, said the best thing the state could do is back a bond to construct the facilities needed for an inland port.

He said the upfront costs could be in the $200 million to $400 million range and only areas close to railroads and major airports would qualify.

“This is not something that can be done at a little place here and there,” he added.

Mike Ingram, director of supply chain operations for EP Minerals in Reno, said his company could ship more products with better rail and truck service, and an inland port would help them.

He said his company ships 4,000 containers of diatomaceous earth a year around the world.

“Eliminating barriers will create a more attractive business environment,” he added.

Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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