Give us back our nickels

Carson City residents should get their money back.

Specifically, the city's transportation fund should get the $19 million motorists have been paying a nickel at a time with every gallon of gas they buy in Carson City.

Yes, Carson City made a commitment to help fund a freeway to help ease traffic congestion through downtown. The money has been rolling in and, yes, construction has been under way on a series of overpasses.

But it is becoming increasingly apparent the bypass is on a slow track with the Nevada Department of Transportation. The first piece, in fact, may only go as far as College Parkway.

In other words, NDOT is reneging on the deal under which that $19 million in gas tax is being collected. The fair thing to do would be to send the money back to Carson City so it can be used to meet the city's many traffic needs in the meantime.

Some may argue that as long as the state has the $19 million, it has an obligation to complete the bypass. We would agree. Yet, so far, NDOT has generally shown it is unwilling to fulfill that obligation.

On Wednesday, Carson City's transportation commissioners bemoaned the amount of street work confronting them and the paltry $720,000 a year with which they have to work. They would have $1.7 million more a year if the nickel gas tax weren't going to the state.

A sizable amount of that work -- improvements to Stewart, Roop and Curry streets -- is needed because Carson City doesn't yet have a bypass. Traffic problems that have been bad for a decade are only getting worse.

Give Carson City back its money, NDOT. As far as we're concerned, the deal is off.

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