By Geri Wopschall
Special to The ElyTimes
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto completed a month-long tour of Nevada’s rural communities that included a stop in Ely on Monday.
In her meetings with local leaders and community members, Cortez Masto stressed her desire to be a voice and a resource for all Nevadans, regardless of zip code or party affiliation.
Her last stop on her tour was White Pine County. She met with several of White Pine County and city officials, preceded by a tour of the Nevada Northern Railway.
Brandi Roberts, executive director of the Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership, gave a presentation illustrating the many uses and groups receiving funding and grants such as the White Pine County Museum, Renaissance Village, the Art Bank and the Nevada Northern Railroad.
Cortez Masto said, “One of the biggest questions I have been asked in White Pine County is how to get transportation here. I feel this is not a partisan issue, it is very important, whether it is by air, road or train, the last time Greyhound was here was never.”
Cortez Masto mentioned that she sits on a board with Senator Dean Heller and one of the things they are looking at is a mandate with the FAA. “I want to know why you no longer receive the subsidies from the FAA for the Ely airport” said Masto.
The train being a $18 million investment that needs funding to upgrade the existing tracks is also something Cortez Masto and Heller will be looking into.
The NNRY has applied previously for TIGER grants.
Cortez Masto said she has quickly found out about housing isssues all over the state but, particularly in rural areas.
“I sit on the Committee of Banking, Housing and Development, we put out a white paper on the needs in Nevada to see if the administration would like to put out block grant funding for housing, not only for our affordable homes, but for our builders to have incentives to build.”
Cortez Masto talked about the new courthouse being a necessity. Cortez Masto said “although there are no more earmarks, there are grants. I will be looking into other ways, whether it be state or federal to assist with the $10 million still needed. We will be focusing on getting the money needed within the next two years.”
One of the last topics Senator Cortez Masto spoke about was television and broadband.
The only news stations provided in this area are Salt Lake News. Masto stated she would reach out to the FCC to see why this area was designated to be part of the Salt Lake City market when the people here would like to know what’s going on in the State of Nevada.
“Another thing we’re looking into is bringing broadband into the area, in Congress I have already written letters to all the many committees and leaders to say we need to invest in rural broadband. All of my colleagues are in agreement whether Democrat or Republican, this is a non-partisan issue and needs to be looked at” Cortez Masto said.
“I want all Nevadans to know that my office is a resource they can rely on, whether they voted for me or not. My team can help them navigate their interactions with federal agencies, and, in the case of veterans, help them secure the resources they need from the V.A.,” said Cortez Masto. “My visits to these communities have allowed me to learn more about the unique challenges rural Nevada faces. I was elected to represent each one of Nevada’s seventeen counties, and I will draw on these experiences to continue doing just that.”
More information about constituent services can be found at www.cortezmasto.senate.gov/help.