Foreign Investors Could Fund Project Neon

LAS VEGAS -- Easing congestion along Interstate-15 as part of the long awaited Project Neon could happen sooner than later if private investors step up.

Imagine money coming from as far as India or China to help ease traffic in southern Nevada.

It's the possibility the state is now looking into -- to get the much needed construction work done as soon as possible and cutting down on traffic, crashes and frustrations along I-15.

But funding is holding back construction.

Rudy Malfabon, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, was in Las Vegas Thursday to meet with potential private developers looking to invest in the massive transportation project.

"I think there's always a risk of getting enough funding to do what we want to do," Malfabon said.

Whoever gets the bid will help finance, design, build and operate the revamped I-15 for up to 35 years.

"It's just another way to get the project going to create jobs right now, when we need them get the infrastructure also built in the near-term instead of long-term," Malfabon said.

Interest has been pouring in from across the country, even from around the world.

Project Neon would expand I-15 from Sahara Avenue to the Spaghetti Bowl, and officials said that will also bring down the number of crashes happening on average about four times a day.

NDOT expects phase one of Project Neon to begin in 2015 with a total price tag of about $400 million.

Private investors will fund about half that amount, in turn also creating thousands of local jobs.

October will be the deadline for accepting bids from private developers. 

If everything goes as scheduled, phase one of Project Neon could be completed by 2018.


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