‘Megapolitan agglomeration’ helps Sierra region, University of Nevada, Reno professor says

Tom Harris, a University of Nevada, Reno, professor, talks to a Nevada Business Connection breakfast on Wednesday.

Tom Harris, a University of Nevada, Reno, professor, talks to a Nevada Business Connection breakfast on Wednesday.

The Sierra-Pacific Megapolitan Area and what it means for Northern Nevada was outlined for a Nevada Business Connection breakfast audience here Wednesday.

Tom Harris, a University of Nevada, Reno, professor and director of UNR’s Center for Business Development in the Business College there, said auto dealerships, industry and other business like to cluster together and so cities do well in economic development while rural areas find it more difficult.

“It’s tough in rural Nevada,” he said, but the five counties on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range that are keyed to Northern California are doing well and should benefit from the megapolitan situation. He said Reno/Washoe County, Carson City, Storey, Douglas and Lyon counties are well positioned as the phenomenon grows because they are interacting with many Northern California counties.

He said economic developers, economists and business people look at such things as metropolitan, commuter, trade and political areas, their interaction and linkages.

“All these, together, make up how we look at an economy,” said Harris. He noted that this Northern CalNeva megapolitan agglomeration currently is geared to an east-west linkage, though he said an Interstate 11 corridor from Phoenix north into the northwest part of the nation might change that dynamic if it is constructed. For now he said, Carson City and the other four counties he mentioned benefit from the east-west orientation.

“This is where the development is going to occur,” he said.

He projected that the Northern California and Northern Nevada economic agglomeration will have 83 million people by 2040, which he added is the size of Germany today.

While Harris looked forward, Kris Holt of NBC looked back during brief introductory remarks to the audience. Holt, executive director of the private sector development organization, said Carson City industry needs construction now.

“Carson City has not turned a shovel in five years, as far as manufacturing goes,” he said. “I don’t know what the deal is.” He said Carson City, which has some light manufacturing is in “pain” due to that need.


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