Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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Nevada Legislature 2013:

Governor seeks $5 million for drone research effort

Gov. Brian Sandoval has asked the Legislature to allocate $5 million to support the state’s effort to be selected as a site for commercial testing of unmanned drones in Nevada’s airspaces.

“With the climate and airspace of Southern Nevada, we are uniquely equipped to help expand the development of unmanned aerial vehicles,” the governor said in a news release.

The state Economic Development Office submitted its final application Monday to be chosen as one of six testing sites in the nation. There are 50 applications to the Federal Aviation Administration that made the final stage.

The governor said the research would create thousands of jobs with an average pay of about $62,000. It would have an estimated $2.5 billion economic impact.

A 28-member team of public and private members developed the application.

A spokeswoman for the governor said $3 million would come from the higher forecast of revenue by the Economic Forum in the next two years and $2 million would be drawn from the Catalyst Fund administered by the Economic Development Board.

The money, said Steve Hill, head of the Economic Development Office, is to prepare the evidence that Nevada is ready to handle the process if selected. The state has to secure the rights to the air space, secure frequencies used in communications and establish policies and procedures necessary to house the commercial drone research.

Hill said there are four sites commercial drones could be located: Boulder City; Desert Rock, near the former Nevada Test Site; Stead, north of Reno; and the Fallon Naval Air Station.

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