Obama Calls on Congress to Fund New Roads

LAS VEGAS -- During his State of the Union address to the nation Tuesday night, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $50 billion for new infrastructure.

The Interstate-15 South Design-Build project took advantage of earlier federal funds.

Federal money is needed for major infrastructure projects. In his address, Obama said he is committed to making a national investment.

"If we upgrade our infrastructure, it would bring even more jobs," he said. "I know you want these job creating projects in your district. I've seen all the ribbon-cutting."

The ribbon-cutting ceremonies have been few and far between in southern Nevada given the recent recession, but things may be looking up.

"Even in the time of fiscal constraint, infrastructure investment is something the federal government has always done," said Robert Lang of Brookings Mountain West.

Lang said the state also needs to pitch in money to draw federal funds and said a down economy is a good time to do so.

"It's cheap to build, it's cheap to borrow money," he said. "Labor costs are down, (it's) cheap to get land acquisition. This is the time to do it."

Corey Newcome with Las Vegas Paving said fixing Nevada's infrastructure will also help its employment problem, bringing more construction workers back on the job.

"The need is there, the infrastructure is aging," Newcome said. "It's tough when they have to stay at home or have to pick up and go somewhere else. It's tough."

Bringing back jobs and strengthening the economy: The president said it is time to get things rolling and Nevadans are waiting to see that happen.

"Let's prove there's no better place to do business than right here in the United States of America and let's start right away," Obama said.

Almost 500 workers completed the I-15 South Design-Build project in three years.


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