Gov. Steve Sisolak has introduced legislation to get the Nevada State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) off the ground and fund it with $75 million to be used for infrastructure projects that could be under review for approval as soon as July 1.
Infrastructure banks were authorized by the federal government in 1995. Since then, 39 states, Nevada included, have established them. SIBs are state-operated revolving funds. That means any loans and interest are reinvested to fund additional projects. SIBs can offer direct loans or credit enhancement products to help fund infrastructure projects and have in the past typically focused on transportation infrastructure.
Nevada’s SIB was established by the Legislature in 2017 but never funded. Senate Bill 430 would make changes to the SIB, including an expansion of the types of projects that would be eligible for funding.
Projects that would be eligible would include those related to transportation, utilities, water and wastewater, renewable energy, recycling and sustainability, digital infrastructure, affordable housing, access to health care, food insecurity and public education.
SB 430 would also expand the SIB’s board of directors to include a representative from the Governor’s Office of Energy.
“Infrastructure projects create real jobs for real people,” Sisolak said in a statement. “This proposed legislation, along with the $75 million in my recommended budget, will help Nevada create a robust pipeline of critical infrastructure projects that will put people to work. I look forward to working with the legislature on this investment in our State’s economic recovery and future prosperity.”
The SIB will allow state and local infrastructure projects to be vetted and prioritized and allow the state to maximize federal dollars dedicated to infrastructure projects within the American Rescue Plan and President Joe Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan.
“The economic impacts of the Bank cannot be understated and will be a critical component to our State’s recovery from the pandemic,” said Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine. “We are ready to launch this Bank as quickly as possible to ensure Nevada has the flexibility and opportunity to take in much needed federal dollars to support infrastructure projects.”
SB 430 has received support from the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada, the Last Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial Real Development Association’s branches in both southern and northern Nevada.
The governor’s office has projected that passing proposed changes to the SIB through SB 430 coupled with funding could help Nevada to launch up to $200 million in new infrastructure investments by the end of 2021, with $1 billion in new infrastructure investments over the next five years. It’s also anticipated SIB-funded projects would create 16,000 construction jobs by the end of 2023. By 2031, it is projected that the proposal could create up to 30,000 jobs for Nevadans.
Source: Nevada Governor’s Office
Jeri Chadwell came to Reno from rural Nevada in 2004 to study anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2012, she returned to the university for a master’s degree in journalism. She is the former associate and news editor of the Reno News & Review and is a recipient of first-place Nevada Press Association awards for investigative and business reporting. Jeri is passionate about Nevada’s history, politics and communities.