Press Releases

Six Heller-Led Transportation Provisions Likely To Be Signed Into Law

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) announced that six of his legislative priorities, including his Interstate 11 (I-11) extension legislation, were included in the final long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill agreed upon today. Heller’s I-11 provision extends the future highway connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas through the state to Interstate 80 (I-80) in Northern Nevada. This final bill, which will direct federal highway, transit, and safety policies for the next five years, will likely be taken up by both the House and the Senate later this week. Following the announcement, Senator Heller offered this statement:

“Today’s news that the extension of I-11 was included in the final highway bill is a major win for our state. Connecting Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Northern Nevada will spur long-term economic development, create jobs, and bolster international trade,” said Senator Dean Heller. “I would like to commend the Nevada delegation for its hard work and support of this initiative, especially Congressman Hardy, who served on the conference committee. His leadership ensured Nevada’s voice at the table was heard.”

The future I-11 has long been a priority for Senator Heller. An in-depth look at the extension, including a map and video, is available HERE.

Senator Heller was also successful in securing the following provisions, focused on improving Nevada’s travel and tourism infrastructure in the highway bill:

  • Lake Tahoe Transportation Planning Provision assists the Tahoe region’s transportation efforts by ensuring the populations of the Nevada and California communities surrounding the Lake are considered a singular entity by the Department of Transportation (DOT). This initiative will greatly benefit local leaders as they seek additional resources to implement the Basin’s innovative 21st century highway and transit plans. This language, which was advocated by Congressmen Mark Amodei (R-NV) and John Garamendi (D-CA) in the House, is similar to Section 7(c) of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act (S.1724) introduced by Senator Heller alongside Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Harry Reid (D-NV) earlier this year.
  • Tourism Infrastructure Improvement Provisions ensure long-term transportation plans consider strategies to promote tourism and improve traveler mobility. Specifically, the provisions in the bill ensure important travel organizations, like the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, are incorporated in long-term transportation planning at the federal, state, and local level. Senator Heller teamed up with Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) to advocate for these provisions.

As a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, Senator Heller prioritized national policies aimed at improving transportation safety and providing common-sense regulatory relief.  He was successful in securing the following three provisions in the final bill focused on these goals:

  • Safety Through Informed Consumers Act (STICRS) (S. 1535) promotes safer cars by requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to integrate crash-avoidance technologies, such as active braking and lane departure warning systems, into its safety rating that must be displayed on the car’s sticker. Senators Heller and Edward Markey (D-MA) joined with Congressmen Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on this bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced earlier this year.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Exemption Provision makes the existing HOS exemption for perishable goods, such as concrete, permanent. Under an existing rule, drivers of commercial motor vehicles are required to take a 30-minute break after at most eight consecutive hours of work. Some short distance carriers find it difficult to implement this regulation given the unique conditions of their work. Once a delivery is started, it must be completed or the concrete may harden in the truck, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
  • The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act provides relief from the NHTSA’s decades old “one-size-fits-all” regulations for vehicle manufacturers. Specifically, it establishes a reasonable framework for the production of replica cars – often 1930’s hot rods, 1950’s classics and 1965 Cobras – so that work is not treated the same as the mass production of cars by global auto manufacturers. Senator Heller teamed up with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) to advocate for this legislation developed by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) in the House. In Nevada, over 100 specialty auto-parts marketers are specifically involved in these types of replica cars.

Additionally, Senator Heller’s joint provision to help rural communities harmed by Obama Administration policies that restrict access to rural lending opportunities was included in the final long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill. The Helping Expand Lending Practices in (HELP) Rural Communities Act, which Heller co-authored alongside Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rand Paul (R-KY), provides rural communities with better access to credit opportunities that can help grow their local economies.

Senator Heller sits on three of the four Senate committees responsible for developing transportation policies: the Committee on Finance; the Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation; and the Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee. He worked in a bipartisan manner on each of the six transportation initiatives successfully included in the final highway bill.