Nevada's Federal Land Sale Fuels Growth

<p>Federal land in Las Vegas has been sold off by the government, creating a fund worth billions of dollars. The fund has been used for many public service and preservation projects in the state. But some say it opens space up for unchecked growth.</p>
December 3, 2007, 2pm PST | Nate Berg
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"Much of the financing for the projects has not come from familiar sources, like local taxes, bond issues or private donations. Instead, they are being paid for through the sales of public lands owned by the federal government."

"Tens of thousands of acres of federal lands in the Las Vegas area have been sold under an unusual law pushed through Congress nearly a decade ago by the Nevada delegation. The sales have grossed nearly $3 billion and counting."

"Because of a stipulation created by the Nevada legislators, the money has not been deposited into the general federal Treasury, but rather put in a special Treasury account to be spent almost exclusively in Nevada on a something-for-everyone collection of projects."

"The money has bought environmentally sensitive land and paid for conservation projects, a central purpose of the law and its amendments, as well as improvements in national recreation and refuge areas. But it has also been allocated to such nuts-and-bolts governmental services as education and water projects, and a variety of local perks, including boat ramps, nature trails and community parks complete with tennis courts, dog runs and barbecue pits."

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Published on Monday, December 3, 2007 in The New York Times
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