Gibbons signs highway funding bill |

Gibbons signs highway funding bill

(AP) – A $1 billion plan to cover part of a $5 billion shortfall in funding for highway projects that will ease congestion on Nevada highways – especially in the Las Vegas area – has been signed into law by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

The governor signed AB595 on Wednesday in Carson City, and followed up with a ceremonial signing Thursday in Las Vegas.

“We needed innovative funding, not something that would create new or increased taxes. This enables growth to pay for growth,” said Gibbons spokesman Brent Boynton.

The bill diverts $20 million annually from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, as well as $44.3 million from existing rental car taxes and $170 million in property tax revenue earmarked for capital projects in Washoe and Clark Counties. The rental car and property taxes will be collected over eight years.

The money will finance $1 billion in bonds for upgrades to Interstate 15 and U.S. 95 in the Las Vegas area and Interstate 80 in the Reno area. The new law guarantees that money raised in one county stays in that county.

The state is facing a growing shortfall in funding for transportation projects partly because of high inflation in the cost of construction materials.