The Metro Program’s ongoing Intermountain West initiative gained new momentum with a major event in Las Vegas at which Fellow and Policy Director Mark Muro and Nonresident Senior Fellow Rob Lang reviewed the recent Brookings report “Mountain Megas” to inform a free-wheeling discussion of ways “megapolitan” leaders in the West can reorient the federal-state-mega partnership in order to address common challenges and shared opportunities.
The October 24 forum, co-sponsored by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, brought together 150 Las Vegas-area government and business leaders—what the Las Vegas Sun referred to as a “who’s who of Southern Nevada.” Included among the participants were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, UNLV President David Ashley, Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid, and Brookings Trustee and Sun Editor Brian Greenspun.
Although Sen. Reid stopped short of endorsing calls for the creation of an Intermountain West congressional caucus, he encouraged new inter-state contacts among leaders of the five southern Rockies states and their megapolitan areas to amplify the region’s voice on critical issues pending in Congress, ranging from infrastructure to energy, water, and climate change. Participants eagerly embraced such work. Greenspun; Harrah’s Entertainment’s Thom Reilly; Jacob Snow of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada; and Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority all expressed keen interest in expanding five-state contacts to seek common cause, particularly on transportation and infrastructure. For his part, UNLV’s Ashley proposed hosting a five-state leadership meeting in spring 2009 to advance multi-state collaboration.