Nevada money aimed at attracting federal drone program

web1_drone2_0.jpgNevada is preparing to get into the drone business.

The state Board of Examiners will be asked Dec. 3 to approve a request from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to use $1.46 million from a legislative contingency fund to oversee the start-up of an unmanned aerial vehicle program in Nevada.

The funding request is contingent upon Nevada’s designation as a national test site for the drone program. The states winning out in the competition are expected to be notified by the Federal Aviation Administration by Dec. 31. There are 25 finalists for six sites.

If approved by the Board of Examiners, the funding request will go to the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee on Dec. 9 for consideration.

The 2013 Legislature set aside $4 million for the economic development office to assist in drone test site development efforts.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, a member of the Board of Examiners, pushed for the funding in the 2013 session, noting that Nevada has been hosting military drone operations for years.

If Nevada is selected, Sandoval said the designation could bring thousands of jobs, generate $125 million in annual state and local tax revenue and have an overall economic impact of $2.5 billion.

In a report to the board, the economic development office said that it has been working since January 2012 to position Nevada as a strong candidate for the FAA designation.

“Nevada must continue to demonstrate the preparedness and capacity to attract and host companies that want to manufacture, test and fly here,” the report said.

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