Millions in Nevada Projects in Omnibus Spending Bill - 8 News NOW

Millions in Nevada Projects in Omnibus Spending Bill

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LAS VEGAS --  Government funding could come to a halt if the U.S. Senate doesn't pass a spending bill by midnight Saturday. One of the most controversial parts of the federal spending are all the earmarks, which include several for Nevada.

There's a long list of earmarks, or special spending projects, that could come to Nevada if the federal Omnibus Spending Bill is passed as written. From Nevada's National Guard to new senior centers, the list has a wide range of projects listed.

The Southern Nevada Regional Transportation commission would be given $2 million to help build an express bus from downtown to Boulder City.

"Two million dollars goes a long way. The project isn't just for an express transit route. There is a need to improve traffic signal coordination, and put some of the hardware, fiber optic communications systems in that entire corridor. We need to improve sidewalks," said Jacob Snow, RTC general manager.

Read a list of the Nevada earmarks

Metro police would have $700,000 to replace their old crime scene lab vehicle. Henderson police will get $600,000 to build a new training facility. Two million dollars would go to widening Highway 160 near Mountain Springs on the way to Pahrump. There is also more than $1 million for UNLV scientists to develop an unmanned aircraft for local disasters that is similar to the military's Predator Drone. The largest single grant would be $19 million for water infrastructure in rural Nevada towns.

Senator Harry Reid says he makes no apologies for bringing in earmark money for Nevada which he says will create jobs. Senator John Ensign says he will vote against it, partially because of earmark spending, even though he proposed nearly $100 million in earmarks within bill.

Reporter Nathan Baca: "Why not remove your support for those earmarks?"

Sen. Ensign: "I'm actually going to vote for the amendment, if we're allowed to offer an amendment, I'm going to vote for an amendment that strips all earmarks out of the bills."

Senator Ensign adds he proposed those earmarks to ensure Nevada get's its fair share from the federal pot of money. The democratic senatorial committee is calling Ensign's actions hypocritical, saying that he's trying to ban earmarks while writing them into the large spending bills.

If the Senate doesn't pass a spending bill by Saturday at midnight, a government shutdown is possible, according to Senator Reid's office.

Senator Ensign says Congress would pass a temporary spending bill before it got to that point.

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