Members of the money committees were briefed Tuesday on the plan by Gov. Steve Sisolak and Treasurer Zach Conine to fund a state “Infrastructure Bank.”
Senior analyst Brody Leiser of the fiscal analysis division said the plan is to provide the infrastructure bank with authority to issue up to $75 million in general obligation bonds for infrastructure projects.
Leiser said the infrastructure bank is already in statute but was never funded.
But he said the American Rescue Plan already contains amounts of federal funding for water, wastewater and broadband projects as well as other infrastructure work.
Erik Jimenez of the treasurer’s office said the bill draft hasn’t been finalized and needs to include language expanding the kinds of projects the bank could bond for.
“Existing law only allows transportation infrastructure,” he said.
He said the plan is to expand that so the bonding program would take advantage of federal funding in the stimulus bills for water, wastewater and broadband projects as well as transportation.
He said the intention is to make the state dollars go as far as possible by using them to match eligible federal funding. Jimenez said changing the existing infrastructure bank statutes would give the bank’s board of directors the needed flexibility.
Ways and Means Chair Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, made clear this discussion seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse.
“We’re having the conversation about setting up this bank but we don’t have the bill draft yet,” she said adding that the policy discussion usually happens before the money discussion.
The joint Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees took no action on the plan. Leiser said that would come in the first week of May when those types of expenditures and authorizations are considered.