After decades of underfunding and neglect, Nevada’s poor roads and bridges are hitting drivers where it hurts: their wallets.
According to a recent White House report, Nevadans spent an average of “$558 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair.” This is a hidden price of car travel in Nevada that both recreational drivers and commercial truckers experience every day, and which amounts to “a total of $3.2 billion statewide annually,” according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). For decades, Nevadans have seen roadways and bridges deteriorate. As people have seen commute times in Nevada increasing by 7.7% in the past 10 years alone, they can also expect to visit the repair shop more often – and pay a steeper bill.
The consequences of Nevada’s underinvestment in infrastructure are not surprising. The ASCE gave Nevada a “C-grade on its infrastructure report card” in 2018. Commuters, rural drivers, tourists, and supply chains alike all depend on Nevada’s roads and bridges, and neglecting repairs and maintenance only proves to worsen driving conditions.
Nevadans have a reason to feel optimism, however. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, despite some lengthy debate in the Senate and House, has been signed into law, and will deliver “$2.5 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs… over 5 years” for our state.
The bill also includes “$459 million over five years… to improve public transportation options across the state,” and “$8.6 million over five years to protect against wildfires,” both of which are necessary steps to reduce individual car use and prepare for the worsening effects of climate change.
Opponents have claimed that these investments are too expensive, but the costs of inaction are too severe. From 2010 to 2020 alone, extreme weather events have cost Nevada “up to $1 billion in damages.” The Infrastructure bill includes funds that will help Nevadans “repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users.” Reinvesting in the state’s roads and bridges now is key to protect Nevadans from further environmental damages.
Many drivers knew Nevada’s infrastructure had long been due for an overhaul. The Infrastructure plan will go a long way towards repairing many longstanding problems with our roads and bridges.