City may be more aggressive in road projects

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With some creative financing, Carson City residents could see both Roop and Curry streets expanded and Stewart Street and Lompa Lane extended next year.

Street Operations Manager John Flansberg suggested Wednesday to the Carson City Regional Transportation Commission that by selling bonds to pay off the debt on Graves Lane -- and potentially also pay off early the city's debt to the Nevada Department of Transportation -- the city could complete projects totaling around $6 million.

"And then we'd be poor," Flansberg said.

The transportation commission has had around $720,000 a year to spend on transportation projects as more than half the $3 million collected through gas taxes -- about $1.7 million -- is sent directly to NDOT as a contribution to help construct the freeway. But transportation commissioners seemed willing to in February begin setting priorities that will see less penny pinching and more pavement for Carson City. Supervisor Richard Staub charged that city residents can expect an announcement soon that progress on the Carson freeway again will be delayed, seeing the freeway completed only to College Parkway in the next few years. In light of that, he and other commissioner agreed the city needs to take aggressive measures to deal with the city's chronic congestion. City supervisors recently agreed transportation officials should consider asking the state to look at some way of refinancing or completely repaying early the city's $19 million contribution to the freeway, funded through a 5-cent gas tax levied in 1997.

"We need more than $3 million a year to do what needs to be done in this town," Staub said. "I don't want to wait until 2010. I don't want to wait until 2012. We need to look at the projects and give (residents) some hope we can tackle this problem on our own. The freeway isn't going to ... alleviate all our problems. We need to plan how how to fix our arteries for our citizens."

Transportation commissioners took a preliminary look Wednesday at potential projects for the next few years.

Several Roop Street residents expressed their concerns with the proposed expansion of that road to four lanes, noting the closer proximity to traffic is a hazard and infringes on their quality of life.

"We have seen two accidents in the last month where cars came into yards," Rita Waters said. "If the street were closer, they'd be in our houses."

Roop resident Marian Bush suggested the commission consider reexamining proposals from the early 1990s to make Stewart and Roop streets one way streets, an idea which Commissioner Shelly Aldean and Staub asked city staff to look into before the February priority setting meeting.

Staub also asked for city staff to consider moving future expansions of Fairview and Edmonds drives up the priority list to create a way for traffic to get off Carson Street and access the freeway if it stops at College Parkway.

A $1.8 million expansion of Curry Street to three lanes, a $325,000 extension of Stewart Street between Carson and Curry streets, a $3.6 million expansion Roop Street to four lanes and a $400,000 extension of Lompa Lane on the Highway 50 Boys and Girls Club property appear to be at the top of the city's proposed transportation priority list to be decided Feb. 13.

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