Agreeing with the LEDC, the Laughlin Town Advisory Board voted 3-1 at its monthly meeting on December 11, 2018 to ask the Clark County Commission and the Regional Transportation Commission to stop spending money on a third bridge over the Colorado River from Laughlin into Arizona.
The LTAB also voted 3-1 to request the two commissions to reprogram allocated but unspent funds to other transportation projects that would yield much greater benefits to Laughlin residents.
LEDC Directors Jim Maniaci and Gina Mackey were joined by LTAB member Stephanie Bethards in the votes to terminate the costly bridge at its Bullhead Parkway crossing site into southern Bullhead City.
At the Nov. 13 LTAB meeting, LEDC Vice-President Martin Knauss read a statement giving reasons to stop the project. At its Dec. 11 meeting, LEDC member Danny Vanderloop read a statement of continued opposition and repeated the prior Knauss statement.
Vanderloop’s comment was, “The position of the Laughlin Economic Development Corporation remains substantially the same today as it was on Nov. 13. The statement read by LEDC Vice-President Martin Knauss is correct in that no written agreement was signed in 2013. There was an agreement signed in 2004.” Knaus's statement was, “At this time, the LEDC does not support moving forward with the bridge funding and construction.
“As presented by Mr. Lueck,
“ * Current estimated construction costs have increased to $56.3 MM,
“ * Clark County (RTC) portion potentially available is $32 MM,
“ * BHC portion is $3.7 MM,
“ * Federal funding is $18.5 MM,
“ * Shortfall of $2 MM,
“ * A total of $5 MM of Ft. Mohave Dev Fund monies were dedicated in the past and have been mostly spent. The funds are NOT included in the above estimated construction cost.
“The cost/benefit is skewed. In 2003 an agreement was discussed to shift more cost to BHC as the bulk of the benefit is towards the business/residential and sales tax base for BHC and Mohave County. No agreement was reached between the jurisdictions.
“A 2010 survey by the Mohave Daily News showed only 26% of Laughlin residents at the time supported the Parkway location. This is currently the only viable location based on federal agencies input.
“So again, at this time, LEDC does not support moving forward with the bridge funding and construction.
“Until an agreement between jurisdictions can be made to appropriately share the cost of the bridge this delay is warranted.
“RTC funds would be better used to improve Casino Drive from Harrah’s to Needles Highway and/or other Laughlin improvements.”
(Bob Lueck is the deputy director of the Clark County Public Works Department.)
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