The RTC is committed to working with our federal partners to improve and enhance safety, mobility, and transportation options in our community. The RTC has created federal policy priorities, transit priorities, and highway priorities, listed below, to help guide us into the future.
RTC 2022 FEDERAL PRIORITIES
- Direct Funding Distribution to Metropolitan Planning Organizations – Sending funds directly to qualified and experienced Metropolitan Planning Organizations is the best way to assure that funding gets into local economies quickly and effectively. We have all learned an important lesson from the COVID funding crisis. Those in need of stimulus funds need the resources now. Any means of distribution that has less oversight layers applies the resources rapidly. However, less oversight does not have to mean lower quality results or programs. The FTA method of funding MPOs directly has proven to be a very successful and should be applied with FHWA funding. Strained personnel resources at the federal and state level are not likely to be adequately and effectively addressed in the near term. Until they are, it only makes sense that USDOT use qualified MPOs who have consistently demonstrated the necessary skills and talent to properly administer federal funds to apply new stimulus funds. RTC is already a direct recipient of federal funds from the FTA. However, funds from the FHWA must currently be administered through NDOT, which can create additional administrative burdens on both RTC and NDOT. RTC proposes an expanded pilot program that would allow RTC to be a direct recipient of FHWA funds to reduce administrative costs and delays.
- Environmental streamlining – Reduce project development costs and duration by reducing the duplication of efforts in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. This includes reducing duplication in the Section 4(f) of the US Department of Transportation Act of 1966 and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 processes and requirements. In addition, limiting the requirements for re-analyzing traffic data for a NEPA document would save time and resources.
- Fully fund Highway and Mass Transit programs – Fully fund federal transit and highway programs at levels authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). RTC encourages Congress to appropriate IIJA authorized levels for the Federal Highway and Transit Administration’s formula and discretionary programs.
- Improve FTA resources for grantees – The RTC recognizes that federal employees are regularly asked to “do more with less” and supports fully funding and increasing funding for Federal Transit Administration staff or outside resources.
- Permit the use of tapered match or delayed local match – This approach will allow projects to be paid for with the federal funding share first, with state and local funding portion applied later in the projects. Delaying the state and local funding portion would assist agencies that are facing constrained local resources and help ensure successful project development and completion.
- Support development of public lands management approach – The RTC is committed to partnering with diverse stakeholders to develop a well-balanced approach to public land management legislation addressing the needs of all regional partners in Washoe County. This effort is anticipated to allow for federal lands to be recommended for development, creating permanent land conservation and helping to fund additional land preservation and conservation projects statewide.
- Support Joint Development and Public-Private-Partnerships – The RTC supports the continuation of FTA’s joint development program and the encouragement of economic development in transit corridors. RTC also supports the creation of incentives for grantees to include private sector participation in transit infrastructure projects, transit service delivery and related economic development projects. RTC supports the use of innovative financing tools, included but not limited to asset-recycling, Build America Bonds, private activity bonds, state infrastructure banks, increased authorization for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, and equity investment tax credits.
- Bus maintenance facility replacement – This project is a priority as the relocation of our current bus maintenance facility is required due to Phase 4 of the Spaghetti Bowl project. As RTC expands service to keep pace with a growing community and an impending NDOT project necessitates the relocation of the facility, a new site will need to be acquired and a replacement facility developed prior to NDOT’s start of construction. This project will
allow for on-site investment in hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Additionally, the new facility is planned to provide space for long-term expansion of the fleet, notably alternative fuel vehicles.
- Extend the Bus Rapid Transit (RAPID) System: Continue the success of the regional RAPID system through extending the Virginia Line to Mt. Rose Highway and Lincoln Line to Stoker Avenue – The 1.3 mile extension of our BRT to Stoker Avenue and the 5 mile extension from Meadowood Mall to Mt. Rose Highway will allow completion of this most critical transit infrastructure. These two areas provide the best near-term opportunity to compliment the current BRT system by adding much needed service in high-density, senior and workforce housing. These projects would directly address two of our most pressing social issues – affordable housing and climate change.
- Arlington Bridges Replacement – This project will replace two bridges over the Truckee River at Arlington Avenue in downtown Reno. The bridges have the lowest structural rating in the region and the new structures will include safety improvements along with pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
- Highland Ranch Parkway/Pyramid Highway Intersection – This intersection is a major connector between two areas experience large amounts of growth. Traffic is currently experiencing longer delays and widening has been identified as an important solution here. This project addresses both congestion and safety.
- I-80 Improvements – I-80 is a nationally significant freight corridor and critical for regional mobility within the Truckee Meadows. NDOT studies identified short and long-term investments to improve safety, and travel time reliability between the Spaghetti Bowl and Sparks Boulevard to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial (TRI) Center in Storey County.
- Keystone Avenue – The Keystone Avenue Bridge over the Truckee River is structurally deficient and does not accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. This project will allow us to replace a piece of failing infrastructure with a safer alternative, which will include bike/pedestrian facilities where there currently is none.
- Spaghetti Bowl Improvements – The 1-80/I-580/US 395 interchange is the top highway facility priority for RTC. This interchange is the bottleneck for the regional freeway network and has the highest concentration of vehicle crashes in the region and in the State of Nevada. NDOT has identified improvements and has completed the NEPA process for these design concepts.
- Sierra Street – The Sierra Street Bridge is structurally deficient, along with not performing adequately during flood events and having a high seismic risk.. This project will allow us to replace a piece of failing infrastructure with a safer alternative, along with additional multimodal updates to the road.
- Sparks Boulevard Project – This project is located in an area where land use continues to intensify. Improvements made on Sparks Boulevard are planned to respect the environmental, historical, community, and recreational resources. The purpose of the project is to address operations and capacity deficiencies and improve safety and mobility for all modes of transportation including cars, pedestrians, transit, and bicycles. The project will increase safety, add roadway capacity, and improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities by widening the roadway.
- US 395 Widening – Widen US 395 between I-80 and Lemmon Drive. This segment of US 395 is a critical freeway link in the metro region that consistently experiences traffic congestion. It serves the growing residential population as well as the more than 12,000 jobs in the North Valleys region.
While all the issues covered in our Federal Priorities on this webpage are of critical importance to RTC, there are times when we may be asked to further prioritize our needs. In order to be prepared for the situation where a prompt and nimble response is needed, our six top priorities are highlighted in bold on this webpage, and reiterated here as:
• US 395
• Keystone Avenue
• Sierra Street
• Highland Ranch Parkway/Pyramid Highway Intersection
• Sparks Boulevard
• Bus Maintenance Facility Replacement