The RTC is committed to working with our federal partners to improve and enhance safety, mobility, and transportation options in our community. The RTC has created federal policy priorities, transit priorities, and highway priorities, listed below, to help guide us into the future. Top priorities are noted with *** asterisks.
RTC 2024 FEDERAL PRIORITIES
- *** Bus Maintenance Facility Replacement ***
This project is a priority as the relocation of our current bus maintenance facility is required due to Phase 4 of the Spaghetti Bowl project. As RTC expands service to keep pace with a growing community and an impending NDOT project necessitates the relocation of the facility, a new site will need to be acquired and a replacement facility developed prior to NDOT’s start of construction. This project will allow for on-site investment in hydrogen-fueling infrastructure. Additionally, the new facility is planned to provide space for long-term expansion of the fleet, notably alternative-fuel vehicles.
- Extend the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System
Continue the success of the regional BRT system through extending the Virginia Line to Mt. Rose Highway and Lincoln Line to Stoker Avenue – The 1.3-mile extension of our BRT to Stoker Avenue and the 5-mile extension from Meadowood Mall to Mt. Rose Highway will allow completion of this most-critical transit infrastructure. These two areas provide the best near-term opportunity to complement the current BRT system by adding much-needed service in high-density, senior and workforce housing. These projects would directly address two of our most-pressing social issues – affordable housing and climate change.
- Alternative Fuels Expansion
RTC has a long history as being an early adopter for alternative fueled vehicles and seeks to continue this success through ongoing expansion of its battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet. While both vehicle types have their advantages, hydrogen fuel cells represent the next generation of zero-emission transit technologies and these buses, unlike traditional battery-electric, provide the solution for the longer operational ranges needed for coverage on all our transit routes and for faster refueling. The growth of our hydrogen program will improve RTC’s services by addressing the limitations with battery technologies, broaden our portfolio of alternative vehicles, and continue RTC’s commitment towards providing our services in the most efficient and responsible way possible.
HIGHWAY PRIORITIES (FREEWAY IMPROVEMENTS)
- I-80 Improvements (Spaghetti Bowl Phase 2)
I-80 is a nationally significant freight corridor and critical for regional mobility within the Truckee Meadows. NDOT studies identified short- and long-term investments to improve safety, and travel time reliability between the Spaghetti Bowl and Sparks Boulevard to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial (TRI) Center in Storey County.
HIGHWAY PRIORITIES (REGIONAL ROAD IMPROVEMENTS)
- *** Keystone Avenue Bridge Replacement ***
The Keystone Avenue Bridge over the Truckee River is structurally deficient and does not accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. This project will allow us to replace a piece of failing infrastructure with a safer alternative, which will include bike/pedestrian facilities where there currently is none.
- *** 6th Street For All ***
This project has been identified as a priority action item in the Vision Zero Truckee Meadows Action Plan. The need for improvements along this corridor is identified in numerous local and regional plans. The project is also part of a network of approved micromobility improvements in Downtown Reno. This corridor has been identified as having the highest safety need, according to the region’s High Injury Network. Project implementation would demonstrate not only a commitment to enhancing safety but to improving equitable access and supporting climate and sustainability goals.
- *** Pyramid Highway/Sparks Boulevard Interchange ***
The Pyramid/Sparks intersection is a major connector between two areas experience large amounts of growth. Traffic is currently experiencing longer delays and widening has been identified as an important solution here. This project addresses both congestion and safety.
- ***Sun Valley Boulevard Corridor Improvements***
The segment of Sun Valley Boulevard from Scottsdale Road to 7th Avenue experiences a significant amount of pedestrian traffic and is one of the highest transit ridership areas not located on a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route. A portion of this roadway has also been identified on the region’s High Injury Network (HIN), where the top 25% of the most severe crashes have occurred. The project will address active transportation and safety needs in this Historically Disadvantaged Community. Significant design work has already been accomplished and the project is in a “shovel ready” state.
- Mt. Rose Highway Improvements
The Mt. Rose Highway exceeds the statewide average for fatal crashes, with the highest rate in the central section of the corridor (Callahan Road, Thomas Creek Road). High speeds are a likely contributing factor. Actual speeds are 10-15 mph higher than posted speeds, as discovered in a recent NDOT study. The proposed alternatives would make long-term improvements to the roadway footprint and operations, including intersection controls, speeds, access, and accommodation of multimodal travel.
- Vision Zero Truckee Meadows Improvements
This is a collection of multimodal transportation improvements located on the region’s High Injury Network (HIN) and identified for priority implementation in the Vision Zero Truckee Meadows Action Plan. The desired outcome of these projects would be to improve transportation safety for all road users, regardless of travel mode. Each of these individual projects is located in a Historically Disadvantaged Community, and incorporates multiple Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Proven Safety Countermeasures to achieve the goal of a reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes.
- Geiger Grade Road Realignment
The roundabout at the intersection of SR 341 Geiger Grade and Veterans Parkway in South Reno near U.S. 395 has seen a significant increase in area traffic since the completion of Veterans Parkway (the Southeast Connector Project) and various residential developments in the last decade. While interim improvements to the roundabout are being made in the near term, long term alternatives need to be evaluated to improve operations and relieve congestion at the existing intersection. The prospect of realigning Geiger Grade to connect directly with U.S. 395, south of the existing intersection was preliminarily studied prior to the completion of the Southeast Connector. Further evaluation of realignment alternatives is now needed in order to address diminishing operations and circulation in the area as noted in both the Mount Rose Corridor Plan and the South Meadows Multimodal Transportation Study.
- Environmental Streamlining
Reduce project development costs and duration by reducing the duplication of efforts in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. This includes reducing duplication in the Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966 and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 processes and requirements. In addition, limiting the requirements for re-analyzing traffic data for a NEPA document would save time and resources.
- Fully Fund Highway and Mass Transit Programs
Fully fund federal transit and highway programs at levels authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). RTC encourages Congress to appropriate IIJA authorized levels for the Federal Highway and Transit Administration’s formula and discretionary programs.
- Improve FTA Resources for Grantees
The RTC recognizes that federal employees are regularly asked to “do more with less” and supports fully funding and increasing funding for Federal Transit Administration staff or outside resources.
- Permit the Use of Tapered Match or Delayed Local Match
This approach will allow projects to be paid for with the federal funding share first, with state and local funding portion applied later in the projects. Delaying the state and local funding portion would assist agencies that are facing constrained local resources and help ensure successful project development and completion.
- Spare Ratio Flexibility
With the transition to a new technology, buses will have to be taken out of service and dedicated to training which will also impact the spare ratio in the coming years. Ask FTA to provide additional guidance and flexibility on the spare ratio to transit systems transitioning to EV buses. FTA has indicated a willingness to be flexible and we hope this can be clearly communicated to transit systems consistently from both HQ and regional FTA offices. Transit systems are worried about being punished for not meeting stringent spare ratio standards as we compete for competitive grant programs and are audited.
- Support Development of Public Lands Management Approach
The RTC is committed to partnering with diverse stakeholders to develop a well-balanced approach to public land management legislation addressing the needs of all regional partners in Washoe County. This effort is anticipated to allow for federal lands to be recommended for development, creating permanent land conservation and helping to fund additional land preservation and conservation projects statewide.
- Support Joint Development and Public-Private Partnerships
The RTC supports the continuation of FTA’s joint development program and the encouragement of economic development in transit corridors. RTC also supports the creation of incentives for grantees to include private sector participation in transit infrastructure projects, transit service delivery and related economic development projects. RTC supports the use of innovative financing tools, included but not limited to asset-recycling, Build America Bonds, private activity bonds, state infrastructure banks, increased authorization for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, and equity investment tax credits.
- Support Regional Pavement Preservation
Assist local government in identifying Federal funding opportunities for pavement preservation. The preservation of existing roads and highways in a state of good repair is an important tool to ensure the effective use of Federal funding while also improving transportation safety, reducing surface transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, delivering equitable transportation options and access, and accommodating new and emerging technologies by upgrading the region’s existing infrastructure. Support of this policy is consistent with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Presidential Executive Orders (Eos), including EO 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
While all the issues covered in our Federal Priorities on this webpage are of critical importance to RTC, there are times when we may be asked to further prioritize our needs. In order to be prepared for the situation where a prompt and nimble response is needed, our five top priorities are marked with asterisks on this webpage, and reiterated here as:
- Bus Maintenance Facility Replacement
- Keystone Avenue Bridge Replacement
- Pyramid Highway/Sparks Boulevard Interchange
- Sun Valley Boulevard Corridor Improvements
- 6th Street For All
RECENT FEDERAL FUNDING ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Lemmon Drive Improvements and Resiliency Project
Federal Funding Source: $25 Million – Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant
The Lemmon Drive Segment 2 Project will reconstruct 3.7 miles of Lemmon Drive between Fleetwood Drive to Ramsey way above the 100-year flood plain of Swan Lake. The Project will also widen Lemmon Drive from Fleetwood Drive to Palace Drive, provide safe connections to the area’s Historically Disadvantaged Communities, and improve the multimodal connectivity.
- Sierra Street Bridge Replacement
Federal Funding Source: $12.5 Million – Bridge Formula Program (BFP), $10.8 Million – Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program
The Sierra Street Bridge is structurally deficient, along with not performing adequately during flood events and having a high seismic risk. This project will allow us to replace a piece of failing infrastructure with a safer alternative, along with additional multimodal updates to the road.
- Sparks Boulevard Project
Federal Funding Source: $57.8 Million – Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program
This project is in an area where land use continues to intensify. Improvements made on Sparks Boulevard are planned to respect the environmental, historical, community, and recreational resources. The purpose of the project is to address operations and capacity deficiencies and improve safety and mobility for all modes of transportation including cars, pedestrians, transit, and bicycles. The project will increase safety, add roadway capacity, and improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities by widening the roadway.
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus and Fueling Facility
Federal Funding Source: $8.78 Million – Low or No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Program
The RTC has taken a leading role to successfully convert the bus fleet to 100 percent alternative fuels. The purchase of six hydrogen fuel cell buses and the expansion of hydrogen fueling infrastructure, as well as an innovative virtual reality program to train bus mechanics to use this cutting-edge technology will allow the RTC to take the next step in this evolution.