Just briefly, Senator, there are more than 40 miles of congested roadways in our northwest. In fact, during rush hour both U.S. 95 and the surrounding side streets often resemble one large parking lot. U.S. 95 serves the fastest growing area in the fastest growing city in the United States.
Our population doubled between 1970 and 1983, and then doubled again from 1983 to 1996. Experts are now predicting we will hit the two million mark in the year 2009; however, the Mayor believes with our current growth rate, we could hit two million by the year 2000. And, of course, more people means more cars, up to 50 more cars a day, everyday on our roadways, and the task of moving these cars as people drive back and forth to work is becoming increasingly complex with each passing year.
That is why the widening of U.S. 95 is so critical to the Las Vegas Valley. The county and other cities in the Valley have come together to endorse NDOT's proposal for the expansion of U.S. 95 and their ranking of the project as the most essential in the State.
Besides serving as Mayor, Jan Jones also is a regional transportation commissioner and a mother of three children living in the north west. So she is very familiar with the burden shared by all the families in the Valley as they transgress that roadway.
Mayor Jones believes the additional lanes for U.S. 95, along with the additional high occupancy vehicle lanes, will cut traffic congestion, as well as improving air quality in the Valley.
I think Commissioner Gates has already covered the challenges of growth we face in the Valley, and Commissioner Woodbury has told you about our local plans for funding, but we still request your help in transferring the 4.3 cents gas tax to the highway trust fund in support of widening U.S. 95.