(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – The Nevada State Democratic Party today launched an attack on Gov. Jim Gibbons for failing to get federal stimulus transportation and infrastructure projects out to bid in a timely fashion.
“In his typical inept fashion, Gibbons has landed Nevada at the bottom of another list; the state ranks 46th in the number of transportation and infrastructure projects it has put out to bid,” the release says. “While most states have allocated more than 40 percent of their stimulus dollars allotted for transportation projects, according to a report released last month Nevada has put less than 27 percent of its funding out to bid. And the state has begun work on projects that totaled only 23 percent of the state’s transportation and infrastructure funding.”
Gibbons spokesman Dan Burns rejected the criticism, saying the information was inaccurate when it was brought up several weeks ago and it remains inaccurate now.
“We could have done one large project and spent all the money at one time,” he said. “Instead the state is doing a large number of smaller projects that will benefit more people and create more jobs. Even shovel-ready projects have to go out to bid, get equipment ready and get moving.”
The Nevada Department of Transportation reports that nearly $100 million of the $140 million it has received for transportation projects is now obligated. Of the 18 projects around the state under the control of NDOT, 15 are out to bid.
“The money is spent,” said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder. “We feel we have met, if not exceeded, the expectation of getting these projects out.”
Other transportation projects are being handled by the counties, and Magruder could not speak to the status of those projects.
The Democratic Party release says Nevada’s Democratic delegation to Congress, led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, worked to bring $1.5 billion in funding to Nevada through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
But Gibbons “foot-dragging” has put Nevada behind the rest of the nation in putting the stimulus money to use, the release says.
Burns said giving Reid credit for Nevada’s stimulus funding is “pathetic and laughable.” Nevada ranks 50th in per capita spending for stimulus funds, he said.
Burns said critics need to take a “Civics 101 class.”
“They have no idea how this government process works,” he said. “There are rules, regulations, stipulations and strings attached. We can’t do this overnight.”
Gibbons is trying to help as many Nevada residents as possible with the funding by creating as many jobs as possible across the state, Burns said.