What USA Parkway means to Northern Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

What USA Parkway means to Northern Nevada

Ron Knecht

On Sept. 8, the USA Parkway extension was opened from Storey County's Tahoe Regional Industrial Center (TRIC) to Highway 50 in Silver Springs.

James has taken the pleasant drive on that road that makes getting to Sparks from Silver Springs nearly equivalent in time and mileage to the drive to downtown Carson City.

First, a very positive note. Completion came three months early, and the project came in under budget. Anytime the combination of these two results happen with a transportation project, a spotlight needs to be shined demonstrating that projects of this magnitude can be completed early and for less money than anticipated. Great job by both the contractor and the Nevada Department of Transportation!

Long term, the impact also looks very positive. The new road will open up opportunities for employment at TRIC for a whole pool of workers everywhere from Silver Springs to Dayton and even Yerington. With less expensive houses and property in Lyon County, many of those working at TRIC today will consider moving out of their rentals in Reno and Sparks and buying a house in one of these communities.

New employers are coming into TRIC all the time. There is a new hotel under construction presently, along with expansion of existing businesses and new buildings under construction. There is even a proposed shopping center.

TRIC is booming right now, and this road opens up more options for future employees to find somewhere to live.

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Anyone who works at TRIC now and has to commute there from Reno/Sparks has discovered the newest traffic snarls in Northern Nevada. Weekday mornings Interstate 80 traffic crawls for miles starting before the Patrick exit all the way to the USA Parkway exit, and evening traffic backs up starting around USA Parkway all the way into Reno.

Employees who are dealing with this traffic on a daily basis will likely start looking at Lyon County to relocate just to ease the morning commute. Instead of the 45 minutes it took before the highway extension to drive from Silver Springs to TRIC via Fernley, now it takes 15 minutes.

In the Nevada Appeal on May 10, 2016, Sally Roberts noted there were at that time 119 companies operating at TRIC, with 4,500 full time equivalent employees. With hiring by Tesla, Panasonic and others in the past year, that number has certainly increased. Tiny Storey County issues, on average, 27 new business licenses a week.

In the same article, Roberts highlights how Storey County has been a friendly partner to the businesses wanting to locate to TRIC, making the process easier than other municipalities, including especially the very large ones. For example, "…when a potential new company asks how long it will take to build, county officials turn the table and ask when they want to be done."

Imagine that! Government helping and not hindering business development.

Roberts also notes: "The county has a government center in TRIC for the convenience of companies looking at the center. All paperwork is online so company planners anywhere in the world can access forms and reports."

With the additional benefit of much lower permitting costs than neighboring Washoe County, Storey County is making it easy to do business at TRIC. Now that the road is completed, the portions of TRIC in Lyon County will start being developed shortly. We hope the Lyon County government will adopt similar practices to make doing business in their county as easy as Storey.

Furthermore, the new highway provides access to the airport at Silver Springs. Conveniently, the road merges with 50 right next to the airport, with a full sized runway and plenty of room around the airport for infrastructure.

Some folks expect that companies at TRIC will use this airport to meet their air transportation needs, now that there is a highway to link this airport right to the heart of TRIC in about 15 minutes.

James thinks the next big real estate boom is coming, and it is coming to central Lyon County. In the next five years, the reader will see a much different Highway 50 corridor from Dayton through Silver Springs than what exists today.

It would be a good thing.

Ron Knecht is Nevada Controller. James Smack is Deputy Controller.

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