Thursday, March 16th the NAIOP Southern Nevada chapter brought in Tina Quigley, General Manager (and presenter extraordinaire), of the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC).
I was expecting Tina to get into the weeds about this “Fuel Revenue Indexing” business. But I should have known better. The title of her presentation was Moving Southern Nevada Forward – a cute play on words. You’ll see below, the title doesn’t just mean “moving forward”, in the sense that you would expect a transportation figure head to say. I actually got chills later in the presentation as Tina described two really smart things they have done to position Southern Nevada literally to “Move Forward” with a competitive advantage.
The bullet points below are the sneak peek of those two things. And as promised, here is a bit about what the heck Fuel Revenue Indexing is…
Fuel Revenue Indexing – Do you remember Question 5? So I thought this whole mishagos started last year, but apparently not. Question 5, which passed easily, was an expansion of a fuel revenue tax that took effect in 2013. What does this mean? Every time you fill up gas, $.10 per gallon goes to funding transportation projects.
• The legislation got extended for 10 years!
• Over that time the tax is expected to generate up to $3 billion in revenue for roadway projects in Clark County.
• Hey – someone has to pay for it!
• The value of a Traffic Management Center (screw you California, you ain’t never catching up!)
• Leveraging the really smart people that come to Vegas every year for CES
Which projects are the priority? What’s in store for high capacity transit? How is the RTC a leading tech ninja?
All great questions.
The RTC deals in 4 areas. We’ll go into each of them more below.
• Public Transit
• Roadway Funding
• Southern Nevada Strong
• Traffic Management Systems
Starting with the first – Public Transit – the stats seem to speak for themselves.
Back up to the Fuel Revenue Indexing (FRI)… there are currently 2.1 million residents and 42.3 million annual visitors in Southern Nevada. The projection is that these figures will increase 26% by 2025. FRI is how we’re going to pay for required infrastructure. The RTC has a 6 point commitment that should give us all comfort.
The Seeing Orange Campaign is centralized on a pretty slick website. I mean, you really should click on that link and spend 5-10 minutes playing around on this site. In addition to having solid information about projects, and letting folks submit comments, it coordinates lane closures with Waze app.
Tina shared that the I-11 freeway is underway and scheduled for an October 2018 completion. Once complete it will shave 30 minutes off the drive time between Nevada and Arizona. Why is this important? Well here’s a fun fact – the only 2 states not connected by a major freeway are Nevada and Arizona. It is important for trade coming in from Mexico. Phase 1 goes into southern Nevada. Phase 2 will go up north. Arizona is equally committed to I-11 and it is on the federal priority list for funding.
Southern Nevada Strong – “is a collaborative effort to plan, create and sustain neighborhoods where residents can have access to quality education, a variety of housing choices, good-paying jobs and transportation options”. So… this is a really cool thing. And I have to admit I did not know about this before the NAIOP program! Tina focused on high capacity transit (aka light rail) and specifically connecting the Maryland corridor to the Medical District on Charleston. But you can also learn more about Southern Nevada Strong by watching this video!
Ok – so you heard about the RTC Bike Share program in my last Takeaways. What you did not hear was the RTC Bike Share Tag line – “Put the Fun Between Your Legs.” I swear, she actually said that in front of a packed room!! Well played Tina. Well played!!
Now comes the leading tech ninja stuff! Did you know that the RTC runs all of the technology in the Traffic Management Center under one regional umbrella? That is a BIG deal! Why? Ok, so LA for example, has 133 Traffic Management Centers! As technology is advancing – having all of our traffic technology in one place makes it more attractive for startups to start here with their products and services.
Here’s something else you probably didn’t know. We have a partnership with Audi. Ya. That’s pretty amazing! They have an On-dashboard countdown feature that prepares the driver for when the light will turn green. It gives them a 4 second count down. Just enough time to stop reading Facebook news feed and put down the phone. The feedback from Audi – they chose Las Vegas to test the vehicle because we have 1 integrated traffic management agency.
A couple more interesting things and we’re done!
In the vein of innovation we will one day find ourselves in connected vehicles; driving on intelligent infrastructure; in cars that may or may not be ours; and cars that we may or may not be driving. Tina shared this video to illustrate life in the City of Tomorrow.
Bringing it all home – another one of the sneak peeks from above. CES happens in Las Vegas every year. Tina views this is an advantage. While smart people are here let’s get them in a conversation. How? Check this out! CES Go-NV Summit.
To quote the King himself – “A little less conversation, a little more action please!” Well… Tina Quigley is certainly articulate. And she is all about action. Smart action – Moving Nevada Forward!