Storey County looks to stimulus bill for road, sewer, other projects | NevadaAppeal.com

Storey County looks to stimulus bill for road, sewer, other projects

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Storey County officials say they hope the federal stimulus package will fund projects that need help to move forward.

A list of about $140 million in project requests includes $55 million for roads, $31 million for infrastructure at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center and $30 million for water and sewer upgrades.

Other requests include $9 million for the V&T Railway tourist train, $2.8 million for a jail expansion and $2.2 million for a Virginia City community center.

Congress is debating an $800 billion bill supporters say will help bring the country out of the recession. Funds are scheduled to go to federal and state departments, rather than directly to projects.

Storey County Manager Pat Whitten said he knows many of the proposed projects on the county’s list won’t be funded by the stimulus bill. Some outside funding is “essential” for projects including sewer upgrades in Virginia City and Gold Hill, he said.

“These are hopes and dreams and needs kind of mingled together,” he said.

Counties should narrow funding requests to projects that are ready to start, said Jeff Fontaine, executive director of the Nevada Association of Counties.

Federal funds carry many requirements, he said, so projects that haven’t already been vetted will have to wait.

Several renewable energy companies are looking at expanding to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center due to President Barack Obama’s focus on the industry, said Lance Gilman, park broker.

The park can offer the land and utilities to companies who want to work with the Obama administration on renewable energy, he said.

The House version of the federal stimulus bill includes more than $34.5 billion in grants and loans for rural counties, according to the National Association of Counties. Areas that could qualify for funds include housing, water and sewer, economic development, broadband Internet access and county community facilities, the association says.

Carson City is looking for about $47 million from the stimulus package for projects including streets improvements, sewer plant upgrades, the V&T Railway and the Carson City Airport.

– Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.