Catherine Cortez Masto joins in Northern Nevada economic efforts
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto told western Nevada business leaders on Wednesday morning Nevada is well positioned to lead the nation in economic development.
She was joined by elected officials from five western Nevada counties at the Northern Nevada Development Authority’s monthly breakfast meeting in the Carson Nugget.
“We in Nevada are in great position to lead the country, to lead this innovation,” she said.
She said the revolution is already happening, bringing a huge influx of jobs to the area and they need to take full advantage of what’s going on.
“The genie is out of the bottle and isn’t going back.”
Masto made the remarks after officials from Carson, Churchill, Storey, Lyon and Douglas counties all ticked off evidence of the economic growth the entire region is experiencing.
Carson Mayor Bob Crowell said the capital’s taxable sales last year, for the first time in history, passed the $1 billion mark while the capital last year alone added 1,200 jobs.
“The economy is moving upward,” he said.
Douglas County Commission Chairman Steve Thaler said they’ve completed the regional water system now connecting Minden, Indian Hills and Carson City. He said there are extensive projects at the Minden Tahoe Airport in the works and the old creamery building downtown is being converted into the Bently Heritage Distillery.
After being hardest hit by the recession, Bob Hastings of Lyon County said they too are seeing huge opportunities including someone who wants to develop 20,000 acres on the Lyon County side of the Storey-Lyon line and huge demands for more residential housing.
Hastings said that has raised conflict between those who want to keep the area rural and developers. He said a planed development in Stagecoach could triple its population overnight, “and the folks in Stagecoach are not very happy with that.”
But he said Lyon needs growth to pay for services.
“Without growth we’re not going to be able to sustain ourselves,” he said.
Most enthusiastic was Lance Gillman, a Storey County commissioner and partner in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.
He said there will soon be 10,000 employees at just two businesses in TRIC — Tesla and Switch and more projects by Google, Bitcoin and other major players are in the pipeline.
“We need very strongly to start considering regional planning,” he said. “TRI is in the middle of generating billions in payroll.”
“That’s the conversation we need to have in Nevada because we are the innovation state,” said Masto.
She said infrastructure is one key — particularly transportation and broadband.
Masto said the omnibus funding bill just signed into law includes more than $10 billion for infrastructure, $2.25 billion for the highway administration and $600 million in federal funding for rural broadband expansion.
Masto said there’s also funding in the bill to expand low income housing tax credits, block grants for housing totaling more than $42.7 billion.
She urged the counties to continue working together to spur economic development in western Nevada adding, her office will be there “to provide the support that you need to get it done.”
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.