Fuel for Thought is a quarterly newsletter of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC). The newsletter’s goal is to keep Southern Nevadans informed about the progress and accomplishments from their contributions to the Fuel Revenue Indexing initiative (FRI). Proceeds from FRI are funding 223 transportation projects throughout the valley and adding approximately 9,000 jobs, supporting economic diversification and improving the quality of life for all Southern Nevadans.
Much has been accomplished throughout Southern Nevada since Fuel Revenue Indexing began in 2014. In fact, 161 contracts totaling $401 million have been awarded creating more than 5,100 jobs for our local community. Some major projects completed include the Losee and Lone Mountain pedestrian bridge in North Las Vegas, phase I of the Main Street and Commerce downtown couplet in Las Vegas, and the Stephanie Street Bridge in Henderson.
The current Fuel Revenue Indexing program is set to expire on December 31, 2016. Once this funding source expires, the RTC is expected to have approximately $58 million per year over the next 10 years. So where does this leave Southern Nevada?
We worked closely with the local jurisdictions to identify the unfunded needs of their respective communities, and they’ve told us that there are a total of 364 roadway projects that would benefit their residents. These projects total about $6.2 billion.
On the November 2016 ballot, Southern Nevada voters will be asked if they want to continue to extend Fuel Revenue Indexing for another ten years. A 10-year extension would raise approximately $2-3 billion to fund about half of the 364 currently unfunded projects that include regular road maintenance, safety improvements such as additional bike lanes and pedestrian crossings, and technology upgrades to ease traffic congestion. This extension would cost the average southern Nevada motorist about a quarter a day for the next ten years.
For more information about the proposed extension, visit rtcsnv.com/fri.
The end is in sight for those who frequently travel on Flamingo Road. Construction on the 14-mile roadway is nearly complete, and commuters can expect it to be cone-free by the end of this month.
Construction along this busy corridor includes the installation of approximately 130 new transit shelters, dedicated bus and bike lanes, landscaped medians and roadway repaving. This $44.6 million project, funded in part through Fuel Revenue Indexing, will improve traffic flow and safety for commuters, cyclists and pedestrians along this busy corridor.
A major component of this project was the extensive coordination and collaboration between the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), Clark County Water Reclamation District, NV Energy, Southwest Gas and the Las Vegas Valley Water District. This coordination saved money and time by using existing manholes to conduct necessary work, and avoid tearing up the roadway more than once, ensuring that this project is completed on time and on budget.
The RTC will be hosting a grand opening celebration on Friday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the West Flamingo Park (6255 W. Flamingo Road). This morning of family fun will include a bounce house, food samples, local vendors, music and more!
If you’d like to attend this celebration, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-676-1623.
For more information about the Flamingo Corridor Improvements project, visit rtcsnv.com/flamingo.
Erick Sanchez and the team at General Design and Construction (GDC) are living the adage, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Forced to reinvent business during the recession, GDC invested in machinery to build bus shelters, which were not built in Nevada at the time. During the recession, “we had to look for other types of projects,” said Sanchez. “That meant obtaining different licenses and getting more involved in projects beyond hotels and casinos.” When the Flamingo Road Improvements Project came along in 2015, they were ready.
Working closely with the RTC, they designed, built and are installing approximately 130 new transit shelters for the $44.6 million project, which is a massive facelift of one of the busiest east-west roadways in the valley. The 14-mile project will be completed this month and included removing old shelters and adding bus turnouts for new stops where possible.
During the recession, “we had to look for other types of projects,” said Sanchez. “That meant obtaining different licenses and getting more involved in projects beyond hotels and casinos.”
Sanchez is a Las Vegas native who joined the minority-owned firm in 2001 after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in digital media. Today, he oversees operations at the company.
Founded in 1996 by Erick’s father Ramon and partner Gene Parry, GDC introduced a new bus shelter never before deployed in Southern Nevada. It’s a cantilevered design that puts the support structures in back of the shelter instead of the typical four posts to support the roof. The design makes the shelter safer, Sanchez said. For aesthetics, GDC designed colorful artistic laser-cut steel images on the back screen to symbolize transit, pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders.
Thanks to the opportunity to work on this project, which is partially funded by Fuel Revenue Indexing, Sanchez is eyeing opportunities to design, build and install bus shelters outside the Las Vegas market.
“We’re grateful to the RTC and others for giving us the opportunity to do things that had previously been done outside Nevada,” he said. “It’s been a real difference maker for us and our employees, and as a result, the community benefits with safer, more functional and more attractive bus shelters.”
Cities and states across the country are facing the same challenges to secure funding to meet their growing transportation infrastructure needs. Like Southern Nevada, local and state governments are exploring various options to fund improvements, maintain roads and provide improved and expanded transportation offerings to commuters.
At its monthly board meeting, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) received findings from an independent audit on the administration of the Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI) program. Dennis K. Meservy, CPA, who was retained by the RTC, shared results of the audit that show the RTC has been properly accounting for and managing FRI funding for projects throughout Clark County.
The audit was designed to comprehensively review and evaluate the RTC’s procedures that account for FRI revenue and expenses during fiscal years 2014, 2015, and 2016. It found the RTC’s internal controls and processes to be adequate and proper. The report was not a self-audit and not required by law, but was requested by the RTC as a means to ensure that its internal procedures for utilizing FRI funds and administering the program are effective and comprehensive.
“The audit shows that the RTC is managing the Fuel Revenue Indexing program in a fiscally responsible way,” said RTC Chairman Larry Brown. “It is efficiently using tax payer dollars to fund critically needed transportation infrastructure projects that benefit our entire community.”
In addition, Moody’s Investor Service again assigned its Aa2 rating to the RTC’s Sales and Excise Tax Revenue (Streets and Highway Projects) Refunding Bonds. The rating primarily reflects the fact that taxable sales and pledged revenues for the bonds is stable and projected to grow modestly. The RTC’s Highway Revenue Bonds Series 2015, funded by Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI), was previously upgraded from A1 to Aa3.
Similarly, Standard and Poor’s maintained its ratings for both RTC bonds, with a AA rating for RTC’s Sales and Excise Tax Revenue (Streets and Highway Projects) Refunding Bonds and AA- for the Highway Revenue Bonds Series 2015, citing both as stable.