As GM of Las Vegas’ Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), Tina Quigley oversees one of the few agencies in the country that manages public transit, traffic management, roadway design, construction funding and transportation planning.
After taking over for Jacob Snow in 2012, Quigley has improved workforce mobility and accessibility for two million residents and more than 41 million visitors, as well as launched eight rapid transit and express bus routes, a new residential route, and a transit pass program for university students and staff. Most recently, Quigley was instrumental in the passage of a new Fuel Revenue Indexing program that is directly funding more than $700 million in roadway projects and is the core administrator of Southern Nevada Strong, the first comprehensive regional plan for the community.
Discuss the importance of the Transportation Investment Business Plan (TIBP) for the region.
Looking toward the next decade, tourism visitation to Las Vegas is projected to grow by 10 million people, and it’s estimated that by 2025, two and-a-half million people will be living here — an increase of roughly 400,000 residents. As evidenced by the pedestrian and vehicle congestion that exists today, and as our studies demonstrate, Las Vegas’ current transportation network is reaching capacity and will be unable to adequately support this growth. Without new, modernized improvements the Las Vegas experience will surely suffer and place at risk our core tourism economy.
The leadership of Las Vegas recognized this imperative and came together to create the TIBP. This initiative is a collaborative effort aimed at exploring our mobility challenges, and ultimately, making a well-informed set of recommendations to guide Southern Nevada’s future infrastructure investment and development.
Over the course of more than a year, our team of experts has been analyzing options and engaging local stakeholders in identifying infrastructure and transit improvements to connect vital economic centers, improve overall mobility and support the future growth of Las Vegas. Over the next two months, we will work to refine these recommendations and produce a robust business plan, which will be released in early fall. This consensus document will capture the entire TIBP process and articulate funding scenarios for realizing its vision.
What changes and improvements have you implemented at the RTC and what is your biggest success?
I was able to work with Jacob Snow as deputy GM for seven years after several years at McCarran International Airport, so I gained a great understanding of the needs and opportunities we have in transportation. We are one of the few agencies in the country responsible for public transportation; roadway planning and funding; and traffic management, all under one roof. As GM, I have surrounded myself with a great team that is talented, motivated and delivers operational efficiencies and proven results.
While it’s hard to pin-down a ‘biggest’ success, I think Fuel Revenue Indexing, the TIBP and recently assuming the core administrator role of Southern Nevada Strong are up there. I am also proud of our efforts to broaden transit options to improve workforce mobility and to provide affordable solutions for higher education, senior citizens, veterans and persons with disabilities.
These initiatives are moving forward due in large part to our agency’s commitment to building strong partnerships in the private and public sectors. These diverse public and private sector partners helped get Fuel Revenue Indexing approved at the state and local government levels, have been invaluable in developing the TIBP and will be even more critical as we implement Southern Nevada Strong.
In recent years, we launched eight rapid transit and express bus routes that are built with commuters in mind. We’ve added a new residential route, three transit terminals with commuter park-and-ride lots, a platinum LEED-certified transit hub in downtown Las Vegas and hundreds of new bus shelters.
Discuss the Fuel Revenue Indexing initiative and how it works?
Fuel Revenue Indexing, or FRI, came along at just the right time and is absolutely critical to the future of our economy. Before FRI we had just $22.4 million available annually for the next 10 years, which equated to building one interchange, one mile of roadway in each jurisdiction or one beltway segment without bridges each year. We understand this is not a long-term funding solution, but in the short-term, this is the best user-fee initiative that captures the revenue needed, from visitors and residents alike, to fund critical roadway improvements.
Fuel revenue is generated each time motorists fill their vehicles with gas. A portion of what they pay at the pump will help fund transportation projects throughout Clark County from January 2014 to December 2016. This funding measure will help keep up with material and labor costs, raise $700 million, fund 199 projects and create approximately 9,000 jobs. For motorists, this averages out to about a dime a day.
Southern Nevada Strong is a very interesting program...how is it was funded and what is its ultimate goal?
The Southern Nevada Strong Regional Plan is the most comprehensive and forward-thinking regional plan our community has ever produced — it is the result of three years of in-depth research, extensive input from Southern Nevadans, and commitment from 13 regional partners, including each of the local governments, the RTC, the Clark County School District and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Funded by a $3.5M grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Regional Plan promotes and supports improving our housing and transportation choices, better connecting our residents to jobs, and making our cities and neighborhoods more attractive for businesses and future investment.
It is important for Southern Nevada to have a Regional Plan that guides local governments and public agencies to connect schools, housing and jobs with reliable transportation choices, especially as our communities continue to grow. Cities like Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Denver all have regional plans that support smart growth and economic development. The Southern Nevada Strong Regional Plan keeps us visionary, ensures that we are coordinated and identifies key infrastructure investments for our community to thrive in the generations to come.
The RTC was very involved in APTA’s Stand Up 4 Transportation Day. Why is the feds’ commitment to funding public transit so important?
We need a strong, forward-thinking federal transportation funding plan that provides a vision and paves the way for communities across the country to meet urgent needs. It is so critical, in fact, that you see national news media coverage on how our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling and needs immediate attention.
Federal funding makes possible im-provements and maintenance for light rail, bus transit, pedestrian safety projects, bridges and bike lanes. The RTC and local jurisdictions here in Southern Nevada rely on tens of millions of dollars each year in federal grants and funding from the FTA and FHWA to keep our community moving.
Southern Nevada is looking at $5 billion in unfunded and critically-needed transportation projects. We can’t tackle that alone, and that amount will only grow if we don’t have a clear federal funding solution soon.