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Senator wants to rebuild America

Christina Nelson

INCLINE VILLAGE – Sen. Harry Reid used Saturday’s Tahoe Forum as an opportunity to introduce his “modern day American Marshall Plan” to a small audience of Nevada constituents.

Reid, D-Nev., the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, visited Incline Village for The Tahoe Forum, the sixth annual speakers forum at Sierra Nevada College.

Reid’s plan – broadly described as a plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure – would fund projects to improve roads, bridges, railways, seaports, airports and water and electricity systems.

“It would be good for the economy,” Reid said. “I think it would be like the public works projects during the depression. It would stimulate the economy – create jobs. It’s a fair conclusion that Nevada will get its share.”

“As a nation we are in a deep hole we need to figure out how to get out of,” he said, pointing to problems in four cities – Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

Water systems are among the largest of Nevada’s problems, right next to rapid population growth, Reid said.

“Water is still the most important problem, but when I talk about water I talk about infrastructure problems,” he said. “Whether it is dealing with the many small water systems around Lake Tahoe or the billion dollar Lake Mead water intake plant for thirsty Las Vegas.”

Reid said problems in Northern Nevada often seem to be overshadowed by Las Vegas, but that he is committed to scientific research and finding solutions to Tahoe’s environmental problems.

“Tahoe is not new,” he said. “It needs repairs and lots of attention.”

When asked how his plan would be funded, Reid admitted that he does face some problems.

“Our surplus is basically gone,” Reid said, pointing to President Bush’s tax cut as one of the reasons for the disappearance of the surplus.

“We do have a problem from the budget standpoint and we are going to have to solve that,” he said.

After his speech, Reid answered questions from the audience about Yucca Mountain, land mines, Lake Tahoe, his Marshall Plan and the presidency.

“I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that we will have nuclear waste,” he said, saying he thinks there’s a 50-50 chance that nuclear waste will be stored in Nevada.

Reid had a very simple answer to one person who asked if he had any plans for the presidency: “None,” he said.

Reid, along with Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., will host the Lake Tahoe Summit Tuesday, which will include workshops, presentations and demonstration on the government’s role in protecting Lake Tahoe.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore attended the first summit in July 1997.