Last week, the City Council approved an interlocal funding agreement with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada where RTC committed to provide $10.9 million to fund construction of our Boulder City Parkway complete streets project. RTC previously pledged $1.5 million for design work, bringing its total funding for this project to $12.4 million.
I shared some details of this project in my January 2017 Talk of the Town column. As a reminder, complete streets are designed to offer a balance of safety and mobility to everyone using our roadways, including pedestrians and cyclists. Complete streets make it safer to walk and bike to work, stores and businesses with features such as wider sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, bus turn outs, intersection improvements, safer crossings and median upgrades. And they provide opportunities for incidental benefits like landscape beautification and improved air quality.
After listening for several months to the concerns of businesses along the highway between Buchanan Boulevard and Veterans Memorial Drive, and with potential opportunities like reduced speed limits afforded by Interstate 11, I decided over two years ago that it was time for some major changes. A complete streets makeover made perfect sense. But with other competing needs, $15 million just wasn’t feasible for the city to cover on its own. It’s easy to come up with great ideas, but funding them is never easy.
So, in 2016 I requested the RTC’s help. I hoped for at least a partial “yes.” But I wouldn’t have been surprised at all by a “no” given the RTC’s own budget constraints.
It took some strong persuasion and exploration of various potential funding sources, but ultimately RTC’s answer was an unequivocal yes. And now, after years of hard work, it appears the project will soon become a reality.
Our collaboration with RTC on this project is just one example among hundreds in any given year that highlight the importance of our city’s regional partnerships. Many people either don’t know or too quickly forget that City Council members do much more than just show up twice a month to City Council meetings. In addition to our many other local responsibilities, we each serve on multiple regional boards and their respective subcommittees.
These appointments require extensive time, energy, commitment and extra work. But they also provide us with unparalleled opportunities to forge important relationships with other local, state and national leaders, to help shape regional policies pertaining to subjects like limited water resources, transportation, education, flood control, public health, travel and tourism, economic development and finances, to protect Boulder City’s unique interests, and to take advantage of synergies, collaborative efforts and funding sources that enable us to accomplish many great things that would be virtually impossible to do on our own.
I’m also extremely thankful for the mutually beneficial relationships that I’ve developed over the years with the other Clark County mayors. Mayors (Carolyn) Goodman (of Las Vegas), (John) Lee (of North Las Vegas), (Debra) March (of Henderson), (Allan) Litman (of Mesquite), and I meet often to discuss issues impacting our respective jurisdictions and how we can most effectively work together to tackle those issues by taking a united stand or pooling our resources. Again, the result is a collective momentum for good that none of us could possibly mobilize on our own.
Our community is the fortunate beneficiary of these invaluable regional partnerships. In fact, all of Southern Nevada is an infinitely better place because of them.
So, I hope you’ll join me in expressing sincere gratitude to RTC and our many other regional partners, to their remarkable staff members, to my fellow council members and all of our counterparts who work so hard and so well together to build relationships of trust that ultimately benefit us all, and to the many volunteers and citizens who are constantly spreading goodwill abroad to help foster collaboration.
In Southern Nevada, when we fall, we all fall down together. But more often than not, we all rise together to otherwise unreachable heights.
Rod Woodbury is mayor of Boulder City. He has been serving on the City Council since 2011 and is the president and managing shareholder of his law firm, Woodbury Law.