(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced he has secured nearly $100 million for projects in Nevada through the passage of the Transportation Omnibus Appropriations Act.
The omnibus bill combines several appropriations bills, including Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Labor, and Health and Human Services. The measure passed the Senate on Sunday.
“This is an important bill for Nevada because it delivers much-needed funding to the state for projects that will strengthen our communities and create jobs,” said Reid, D-Nev. “Every bill that is passed, every project that is funded and every job that is created helps Nevada take another step forward on the road of economic recovery.”
From funding for law enforcement equipment and military personnel to public health initiatives, this bill makes strong investments in Nevada communities, Reid said.
The $97.5 million in appropriations is a way to supplement state and local funding and bring home Nevadan’s hard earned tax dollars for deserving projects that create jobs, provide services, and improve the quality of life for all Nevadans, he said.
But Reid came in for some criticism from Las Vegas businesswoman Sue Lowden, one of several candidates in a crowded Republican field seeking to challenge him in his reelection bid next year, for passing the omnibus bill.
The $1.1 trillion bill included numerous earmarks despite promises of earmark reform, she said in a statement.
“Sen. Reid’s earmark-filled spending bill this year represents a 10 percent increase over last year’s spending levels,” Lowden said. “This, while Nevada’s unemployment has increased by nearly 40 percent since Harry Reid spent our tax dollars on a nearly trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ bill earlier this year.”
Reid said the Nevada funds will go to projects all around the state, from Elko to Boulder City.
Nearly $55 million of the total will go to military construction, including $10.8 million to replace a Nevada Air National Guard fire station in Reno and $10.7 million for a combined gymnasium and fitness center at the Fallon Naval Air Station. Another $26 million will go to the construction of a North Las Vegas Readiness Center for the Nevada Army National Guard.
Just over $20 million will go to Nevada transportation, housing and urban development projects, including nearly $3 million for the construction of an interchange at U.S. Interstate 15 and Starr Road in Henderson, and $2.2 million to make improvements to State Route 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump. Another $682,000 will be used to build an affordable senior assisted living center in Las Vegas.
Labor and health and human services projects will receive almost $13.1 million, including $800,000 for a diabetes center at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno, and $900,000 for the Nevada State College Nursing Program.
Commerce, justice and science projects total $8.5 million, including $1 million to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office for a heavy duty command post and patrol safety system, and $1 million to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for a justice information sharing program to replace a 40-year-old database.