CARSON CITY — As if encouraging businesses and government agencies to stay away from Las Vegas is not bad enough, now President Obama has left Nevada out of a new multi-billion dollar high-speed rail jobs program. Thirty-one (31) states are included in the newly announced 8-billion dollar stimulus rail transportation plan, but Nevada is not one of them.
“It looks like Senator Reid was asleep at the switch again, “ Governor Gibbons said, “Once again Reid pays no attention to the needs of Nevada families and President Obama simply ignores the fact that we have the second highest unemployment rate in the country.” Governor Gibbons has worked tirelessly to bring new industry and jobs to Nevada. “Nevada already has a high speed magnetic levitation train (MAGLEV) plan in place,” Governor Gibbons said, “It is disgusting and disgraceful that Reid and Obama ignored our efforts.”
Gibbons also noted that this high speed rail funding comes from stimulus funds, meant to create jobs and stimulate the economy. “Senator Reid’s weak efforts to help Nevada have already put us in 50th place in per capita stimulus fund rankings, this is just another slap in the face to working families and to families suffering through the misery of unemployment,” Governor Gibbons said, “I am surprised Reid calls Nevada his home state when he uses his position to insult every citizen of Nevada.” Gibbons added, “Every Nevadan, especially unemployed construction workers, should be livid with Senator Reid.”
Senator Reid has already blocked 45 million dollars in federal funds earmarked specifically for work on a MAGLEV train between Las Vegas and Primm, Nevada. That funding is included in a federal law passed in 2005. A UNLV study suggested that segment of MAGLEV would create up to 13,000 new skilled jobs. Ignoring the law, Reid has used his influence with the U.S. Transportation Department and the Federal Railway Administration to block those funds from coming to Nevada and he is preventing the creation of 13,000 new jobs.
Senator Reid and President Obama are proudly giving millions of dollars under this high-speed rail funding to tourist destination cities like Orlando, Florida and Anaheim, California, but Las Vegas and Reno are ignored. Even Eugene, Oregon and Ottumwa, Iowa are receiving funds from this stimulus program.
Governor Gibbons plans to contact Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to see if Nevada can be added to the list of 31 other states receiving these high speed rail stimulus dollars. It remains to be seen if Senator Reid will block that effort as well.