Carson City transportation commissioners don't want to let Douglas County have a say in how they prioritize and spend federal road and transit money.
Regional Transportation commissioners on Wednesday considered adding representatives from Douglas County, and perhaps Lyon County, to the new metropolitan planning organization, a group that takes over for the Nevada Department of Transportation the prioritization of federally funded road projects in its region. The organization will also have control over an estimated $500,000 in transit funds.
The 2000 Census set the boundaries for the organization and included in it a chunk of northern Douglas County and a slight portion of Mound House in Lyon County. Carson Transportation Chairman Jon Plank said because more than 80 percent of the organization is in Carson City, the city should control the funds
"Quite frankly, it's Carson City's program. That's what we anticipated and all of the sudden at this last minute there's all this be-nice-to-everybody stuff?" Plank told city supervisors Thursday. "This is a business. This isn't a love-your-neighbor situation. We need to take the best approach for Carson City. We have a problem with other people telling us how to spend our money."
Bob Nunes, Douglas County community development director, called the city's position "interesting." Nunes said it "makes logical sense" to include the county in the process. Douglas commissioners have not yet discussed the issue.
The Census designated Carson City an urban area with a population of 58,263. The population of Carson City proper is only 52,457, with the rest of the urban population coming from densely populated portions of the neighboring counties. City officials began planning for the federal designation in 1999, and city supervisors expanded the transportation commission from three to five members in preparation.
The Carson City Board of Supervisors postponed Thursday a discussion on the make-up of the board pending further discussion by transportation commissioners. Randy Bellard, planning and research engineer with the Federal Highway Administration, said the Carson metropolitan planning organization must include northern Douglas County, but the city isn't obligated to have Douglas representation. Despite Carson City discussions on the issue, Gov. Kenny Guinn "is ultimately responsible for thrashing out these competing county interests," Bellard said, as he designates who sits on the board.