The legislative Interim Finance Committee Wednesday voted to spend $5.98 million in highway funds to begin building the new, high-tech statewide radio system for public safety agencies.
NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon told the committee this is just for the first of the six year construction project. He said the total cost will be $63.5 million from the Department of Transportation, $26.5 million from Washoe County and $27.7 million from NV Energy, the three partners paying to build the system that will meet new federal public safety requirements.
He said the funding sought Wednesday is just for Fiscal Year 2019.
Asked why construction of the system will take six years, Daniels said one major problem is it involves construction of radio sites atop some of Nevada’s most remote peaks. He said in some of those areas, those sites are only accessible during the warmer period of the year, not during winter.
The planned 800 megaherz system has been in the works for years because the existing system is an outdated collection of systems that can’t talk to each other in an emergency and leave law enforcement and other public safety people unable to radio in if they’re in certain remote parts of the state. There have also been connection issues in places like metropolitan Las Vegas where high rises may block signals between officers and dispatch.