Senator calls for rebuilding of travel, utility networks |

Senator calls for rebuilding of travel, utility networks

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (AP) – On the eve of the annual summit to review Lake Tahoe’s future, Sen. Harry Reid is calling for a modern day American Marshall Plan to address the needs of the nation’s travel and utility networks as well.

Reid’s proposal would fund projects to improve roads, bridges, railways, seaports, airports and water and electricity systems.

”It would be good for the economy,” Reid said Saturday at Sierra Nevada College. ”I think it would be like the public works projects during the depression. It would stimulate the economy – create jobs. It’s a fair conclusion that Nevada will get its share.

”As a nation we are in a deep hole we need to figure out how to get out of,” he said, pointing to problems in four cities in particular – Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New Orleans and Las Vegas.

The project would be loosely patterned after the $12 billion plan advanced in 1947 by Secretary of State George C. Marshall to rebuild the war-torn nations of Europe. Credited with preventing famine and political chaos, the plan earned Marshall a Nobel Peace Prize.

In this country, Reid said some East Coast cities were built 200 years ago and find their roads, bridges and water systems failing from age.

In Nevada, where almost nothing is a century old, he said the problem is growth, not age.

”Water is still the most important problem, but when I talk about water I talk about infrastructure problems,” he said. ”Whether it is dealing with the many small water systems around Lake Tahoe or the billion dollar Lake Mead water intake plant for thirsty Las Vegas.”

Reid, D-Nev., said problems in Northern Nevada often seem to be overshadowed by Las Vegas, but that he is committed to scientific research and finding solutions to Tahoe’s environmental problems, the Nevada Appeal reported on Sunday.

”Tahoe is not new,” he said. ”It needs repairs and lots of attention.”

Reid and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., will host the Lake Tahoe Summit Tuesday, which will include workshops, presentations and demonstration on the government’s role in protecting Lake Tahoe.

Reid, who chairs the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, conceded the funding the national proposal will be challenging.

”Our surplus is basically gone,” Reid said, ”We do have a problem from the budget standpoint and we are going to have to solve that.

”If we don’t make the hard choices to allocate resources and make a commitment to addressing these problems, we are gambling America’s prosperity on an infrastructure whose pipes, schools, roads and airports are literally at the bursting point.”

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