LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Another busy weekend in the valley means another weekend where traffic is bumper to bumper heading back to Southern California.
It’s nothing new for drivers, but it is top of mind for some elected officials who are hoping the giant infrastructure bill sitting in congress, means a fix.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman believes the state of California should cover the costs.
“We had friends come in from LA. Took them three and a half hours. Nine going back. Nine,” said Carolyn Goodman Mayor of Las Vegas.
Many drivers have most likely had a similar experience – which is why Goodman has her foot on the accelerator. She wants to widen the I-15, on the California side.
“It’s gridlock. This is ridiculous,” she says. “For us selfishly it’s about tourism and getting those people in easily from the Southern California area,” Goodman adds.
However, the matter goes beyond that, Mayor Goodman cites nationwide commerce and freight. “These are the connecting roads and the key is Barstow to the state line,” she says.
The city of Las Vegas estimates it will cost $1.8 billion to widen 114 miles of interstate. The nationwide cost of the current congestion is $3 billion a year.
“We know the facts because we have the best civil engineers here,” said Goodman.
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom agrees that the situation is a mess.
“You see that line and you think, who would ever go back here after that?’ Segerblom adds.
However, he also says Nevada should foot the bill since the state is the beneficiary of tourism dollars.
“I think it’s in our best interest to make sure that road happens no matter who pays for it and if we have to pay for it from our budget and our infrastructure money, it’s money well spent,” said Segerblom.
No matter who pays for it, the California Department of Transportation is responsible.
8 News Now reached out to CalTrans for a response, their full statement is included below.
“Caltrans has had discussions regarding the potential widening of this segment of Interstate 15 (I-15) with our partners but currently the department has no plans for this type of effort. Right now, Caltrans has prioritized a fix it first approach to managing the state transportation network. While there are no plans to widen I-15 at this time, Caltrans is currently working with Brightline West to develop a high-speed passenger rail project between Apple Valley and Las Vegas. This project is anticipated to reduce congestion and improve mobility along I-15.”The California Department of Transportation