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New law gives state funds for highways

President Barack Obama signed a five-year, $305 billion measure into law Friday that will help Interstate 11’s future route linking Las Vegas to Reno.

Sondra Rosenberg, Nevada Department of Transportation’s assistant director of planning, said a freight plan is included in the new law, and that Nevada will see an increase in formula funding of “approximately $170 million over the next five years.”

I-11 received a congressional designation from Phoenix to Las Vegas in 2012, when Sens. Dean Heller and Harry Reid focused on the provisions.

This new measure was voted in favor 5-1 by Nevada’s six-member congressional delegation. Opposition to the bill came from Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, saying the bill is full of irresponsible funding provisions.

Others that voted described the five-year bill as providing Nevada with funding certainty, saying increasing fuel tax to pay for funding is highly unlikely (it’s been at the same price since 1993), so turning to other sources to help the Highway Trust Fund pay for popular programs is what the state must do.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act gives $1.9 billion to the state of Nevada over five years for transportation projects, as well. That allotment will be paid in the amount of $385 million annually. The FAST Act is the first long-term funding bill approved in over a decade.

The bill is simply on authorization measure to provide long-term stability planning for the future of I-11. No specific funding methods have been set.

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