Infrastructure has dominated headlines during the past year, particularly with the $2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to invest and rebuild infrastructure across the country. I’d like to take the opportunity to emphasize the significance of infrastructure and why it matters to cities, communities, businesses and individuals, particularly as today kicks off United for Infrastructure (UFI) week. UFI is a weeklong nationwide awareness campaign in support of building and improving our country’s infrastructure.
Infrastructure, by its very definition, encompasses many elements: roads and highways, power and water, buildings, and much more. This year’s theme is “Lead with Infrastructure,” an appropriate phrase during this time as our community is undergoing monumental growth through construction of new residential, commercial, sporting and entertainment venues. As Southern Nevada continues to recover from the pandemic, it is vital that we invest in appropriate infrastructure to respond to the many needs of our current and future residents and visitors.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is responsible for many aspects of infrastructure in the Las Vegas Valley: public transit, traffic management, roadway funding, transportation planning efforts, and our community’s regional plan, Southern Nevada Strong. We believe infrastructure is the backbone of our region. It’s the system that keeps goods, services and people moving, and it connects residents and visitors to all the places they want and need to go. Infrastructure is the very foundation of a healthy community with a vibrant economy that supports business and attracts additional investment.
Because of infrastructure’s importance, especially in terms of transportation, we strive to ensure that it is efficient, accessible and safe for all Nevadans. Infrastructure provides a mechanism for paramedics to quickly maneuver streets and traffic to efficiently reach a person in distress. It helps the big rig driver navigate highways to bring essential goods to our valley, and it allows for a construction worker to make a good living on a long-term construction project. Infrastructure provides the ability for a newly licensed teenager to drive to school, fostering personal independence, and it supports a growing bike-share program that offers an option for those seeking a more cost-efficient alternative amidst high gas prices.
Since 2014, our agency partners have begun construction on 483 and design on 109 roadway projects that total $1.97 billion, with 335 of those projects completed. Large-scale projects include building Interstate 11 and reconstructing Flamingo Road. One of the larger projects on the horizon is our bus rapid transit project along Maryland Parkway.
These large projects are a big part of the transportation puzzle in any community such as Southern Nevada. The RTC’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) identifies roadway projects prioritized by agency partners to be funded over the next 10 years. The current CIP includes more than $2 billion in projects for design, right-of-way and construction. Just last year, $245 million was expended on projects, which included more than 85 interlocal contracts with Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City and Mesquite.
These projects equate to a tremendous number of jobs that benefit local small and diverse businesses, and an economic investment in our community that will help maintain our valley’s roadways. As a result of the partnership among the RTC, local jurisdictions and our contractors, these projects have generated more than 13,000 jobs for our community. None of this would have been possible without the support of Nevadans. Voters passed the extension of fuel revenue indexing in 2016, providing long-term funding for a regional roadway system that allows Southern Nevada to remain economically competitive.
At the RTC, we are proud to lead with infrastructure and celebrate our region’s progress during United for Infrastructure week. We invite the public to join us at various events in collaboration with community partners, as we work to bring resources and opportunities to our residents and business community. To learn more, visit rtcsnv.com.
While infrastructure can be a daunting responsibility for all public agencies, we are excited for Southern Nevada’s future and welcome the opportunity to develop and grow as we work toward creating an efficient, accessible, safe and equitable transportation ecosystem for our community.
MJ Maynard is CEO of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.
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