Former state controller Darrel Daines, who was a member of the Nevada Transportation Board for 16 years, says he was shocked by the suggestion Interstate 580 may get a higher priority than Carson City's bypass.
He said that board committed in principle to fund the entire bypass project when the northern half of the project was funded.
"The taxpayers in Carson City acted in reliance on this commitment and imposed a tax on themselves to hasten its completion," he said.
According to Daines, that tax "was premised on the people's perception that the project would go forward on a timely basis."
"For the state to go back on its word now would violate the people's confidence in their government," said Daines.
Daines made the comments in a letter to Gov. Kenny Guinn after a discussion during the July Transportation Board meeting about whether to build the next phase of the bypass or I-580 first.
Daines, who retired to Reno after leaving the controller's post two years ago, said the Carson City bypass project is "intended to eliminate a transportation bottleneck that affects not only Carson City but all the surrounding communities."
"Increasing the capacity of I-580 merely increases the volume of traffic destined to clog that bottleneck," he said.
That is the position taken by Carson City officials including State Senator Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, who told the board once the bypass from Arrowhead to U.S. 50 is finished, all the south-bound traffic on U.S. 395 will create a huge traffic jam that will only be made worse if I-580 is built.
They say the only way to cure that is to build phase two of the bypass south from Highway 50 to Spooner Junction before I-580, which would run from Mount Rose to Winters Ranch.
He and Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko are arguing that not only is the bypass a more pressing need but that Carson City has committed up to $20 million of its own money to help build it.
Daines commended Guinn for ordering a full, impartial analysis of the two projects and their effects on overall traffic flows before deciding which should have priority.
The letter was delivered to Carson City officials as well as current member of the Transportation Board, which sets priorities for state highway and road construction projects. Its members include the governor, controller, attorney general and citizen appointees.