Transportation plan needed for Las Vegas to keep up

Great cities need great plans, and Las Vegas is no exception.

Continued and sustainable economic prosperity are within reach if we plan smartly. As the region’s metropolitan planning organization, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada works toward that goal with government agencies, municipalities, local leaders, elected officials and the business community.

Smart planning encompasses multimodal transportation options, affordable housing, quality education and diverse employment opportunities. The Southern Nevada Strong Regional Plan is the valley’s first federally recognized regional plan that serves as a blueprint for the future development that will achieve these goals. The RTC is leading the effort with local jurisdictions to provide practical tools, training and technical expertise. RTC officials also are identifying best practices for project development and funding sources to implement the recommendations.

Similarly, we need to apply consensus-driven plans that address the transportation challenges we will face in the growing economic hub of our valley: the resort corridor, from McCarran International Airport to downtown Las Vegas. The recently released Transportation Investment Business Plan outlines dozens of recommendations to spur growth and development in our economic epicenter. Its recommendations are the result of 18 months of community collaboration, research and analysis to create a modern transportation system to increase mobility for tourists and residents.

Nearly 60 percent of our visitors travel to Las Vegas by car, bus or RV, and new residential development means even more commuters. With this growth, our roads carry more traffic than ever. In fact, TomTom Americas Traffic Index ranks Las Vegas 19th among 53 U.S. cities with the worst traffic congestion.

We need to ensure our valley’s transportation infrastructure can effectively support this increased demand. To cover a growing gap in funding, the RTC in 2013 partnered with local leaders, the business community and elected officials to support fuel revenue indexing to keep pace with costs, generate funds for needed transportation projects and create jobs.

With fuel revenue indexing projects and other road construction underway by commercial developers, utility companies and government agencies, we understand drivers are frustrated. To provide information to commuters and help the community understand the reasons and benefits of these projects, the RTC recently launched Seeing Orange, which offers up-to-date information on road projects and alternate routes.

The RTC is committed to improving transportation infrastructure, which will support and promote economic growth, create jobs and encourage innovation while building a more livable community.

Tina Quigley is general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.