Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2014

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Board of Transportation OKs $100 million in bonds for I-15 widening

CARSON CITY — The state Board of Transportation today approved the sale of $100 million in revenue bonds to buy right-of-way to widen Interstate 15 in Las Vegas.

The project, dubbed Project Neon and estimated to cost a total of $1 billion, will be a partnership between the Nevada Department of Transportation and a private company that will help finance, build and maintain the stretch of more than three miles.

A Transportation Department official said three companies were interested in joining with the state, and one would be selected later this year.

The bonds are expected go on sale Feb. 26, pending approval Tuesday by the state Board of Finance, and will have a AA rating.

About 257,000 vehicles a day travel the stretch of freeway being widened from Sahara Avenue to the Spaghetti Bowl. The project should improve safety.

Board member Tom Skancke of Las Vegas said the public-private partnership is a new way for the state to improve its highway system. If successful, it could be used on projects in other parts of the state.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, chairman of the board, instructed NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon to keep state legislators informed about the project. He said many lawmakers had questions and doubts about the financing of the project at the last meeting of the Legislative Interim Finance Committee.

In other action, the board agreed to a recommendation by Malfabon to install a traffic light at Blue Diamond and Cimarron roads in Las Vegas. NDOT also plans to install push-button signal changers and cross walks where Durango and Buffalo drives intersect with Blue Diamond, Malfabon said.

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