During the past twenty years Nevada experienced one of the largest growth surges in the country and then one of the worst downturns from late 2008 through 2013. This roller coaster economy decreased funding levels and preventive maintenance suffered leaving many infrastructure systems underfunded. Hardest hit may be school facilities in both rural communities and cities. Nevada’s funding for maintaining schools stagnated and left a funding shortfall of over $5 billion during the next 5 to 10 years.
The 2014 Report Card for Nevada’s Infrastructure, released today by the Nevada Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), gave the state’s infrastructure a grade of “C-.” The Report Card identifies more than 15 billion in needs across Nevada’s critical infrastructure sectors over 20 years, including:
Dams and Flood Control:
- With the majority of funding for flood management coming from local gas and sales tax initiatives, there continues to be projected funding shortfalls upwards of $400 million.
- The state has 158 high hazard dams, which could lead to loss-of-life or significant property damage if dam failure occurs.
- The state budget for high hazard dams is nearly half the national average.
- In 2005, $500,000 of investments were made in aviation through the Nevada Aviation Trust Fund, resulting in an economic impact of over $20 million. However, since that time no state funding has been allocated into the Trust Fund to leverage federal funding.
- The Nevada Department of Transportation maintains 5,300 miles of state highways, which include many rural roadways within Nevada.
- Current funding levels provide only 60 to 70 percent of the required funding to maintain state highways.
- In Clark and Washoe Counties, 45 percent of schools are more than 30 years old.
- In other counties throughout the state, there are schools with campuses over 100 years old.
- Every dollar held back from school operation and maintenance budgets escalates emergency repair budgets 400 percent.
“As the state’s economy continues to rebound, we must make investments in our infrastructure to match,” said Chuck Joseph, P.E., Chair of the Nevada Report Card. “Many of the grades in today’s report are lower than seven years ago. That’s unacceptable and it’s time to commit ourselves to addressing the needs of our roads, drinking water, dams and schools.”
“The condition of our infrastructure plays a huge role in making our state a great place to raise a family or own a business,” said Debra March, councilwoman, City of Henderson. “Our roads, schools and water pipes need attention and investment to keep our community thriving.”
“Our state’s aging infrastructure comes at a cost to Nevada’s families and businesses. As our economy rebounds, now is the time to invest in infrastructure to keep the momentum going,” said Jim Caviola, Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation.