State still wants road upgrades near Apex Industrial Park, even if Faraday doesn’t come

The Nevada Department of Transportation says it still wants to make road improvements near the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas even if electric car company Faraday Future’s planned factory doesn’t materialize there.

Department Director Rudy Malfabon told lawmakers at a budget hearing on Tuesday that his agency had applied for a federal grant as a way to fund the $75 million project, which proposes additional lanes, an interchange and a frontage road to reduce the number of driveways leading into the highway.

He said recent flooding that forced the closure of I-15 reinforced the need to widen US 93 to ensure it’s a viable alternate route.

“We still think those are necessary,” Malfabon said of the upgrades, adding that the department could reduce the scope of the project in the area where the factory was planned. “It wasn’t just for Faraday.”

Nevada lawmakers met for a special session in December 2015 to approve $335 million in tax incentives for the company and infrastructure improvements near the site where Faraday plans to build a $1 billion factory.

The company unveiled a production car at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, and it’s now accepting reservations to buy the vehicle, which is supposed to start rolling off the assembly line in 2018.

But the state has already started bracing for the potential that Faraday’s ambitious plans won’t come to fruition. Faraday was recently sued by a graphic design company that said the carmaker hasn’t paid up for a $1.8 million contract, and the company has yet to do serious construction at the North Las Vegas site.

“The issue is putting up the building and going vertical,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said earlier this month, referring to a deal that doesn’t allow Faraday to cash in on tax abatement money until it invests at least $1 billion in the project. “We’ll wait to see what happens, but the state isn’t out any money that I’m aware of.”