Don't blame Lompas for freeway delays

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, it's not the Lompa family holding up progress on the Carson City bypass.

From a few news reports we heard last week, someone might think the family is somehow an obstacle to work being done on the long-delayed highway.

It's true Lompa property remains the last big piece of right of way to be acquired, and a fair price has not yet been settled. As the Nevada Appeal reported in September, the Nevada Department of Transportation is seeking to condemn the property.

In that process, appraisals are submitted in court and a price determined. As with anything in the courts, it could take awhile.

But highway projects aren't ordinarily held up by disagreements over the price of land. The Nevada Department of Transportation can ask the court for permission to proceed while the legal process grinds on, something NDOT hasn't done.

NDOT has its reasons for not seeking permission. What bothers us, though, is the possibility someone might point a finger at one of Carson City's most upstanding, most generous families as a scapegoat for delays in bypass construction.

As we pointed out in September, simply accepting NDOT's offer of $2.8 million for 62 acres probably isn't in the best interests of the family, but it also may not be in the best interests of the taxpayers. The 1999 case involving property owned by John Serpa at the Spooner junction showed the state's efforts to lowball the price instead ended up costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

Our main concern remains the possibility, voiced by Attorney General Frankie Sue del Papa at a transportation committee meeting two months ago, that state officials have concluded they simply can no longer afford to build a freeway through Carson City.

Obviously, one piece of property would not make the difference in a $285 million project.


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