Toll road proposal gets mixed reviews

(AP)- A proposal that would allow for toll roads as a way to help reduce a huge funding shortfall for Nevada highway projects got mixed reviews Tuesday in a state Senate committee hearing.

SB392, being studied by the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, was favored by representatives of Boulder City, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada and the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County.

But Paul Enos of the Nevada Motor Transport Association said he opposed the bill in its current form - especially because of the possibility that tolls could be collected on existing roads.

Michael Geeser of AAA Nevada backed the measure but also said existing highway lanes shouldn't be used as toll lanes, although newly built routes would be a different matter.

Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, chairman of the transportation-homeland security panel, said during the hearing on SB392 that public-private partnerships that result in toll lanes have been used for 20 years in Europe to fund major highway projects.

Nolan said the concept isn't easily understood, but because of the state's estimated $3.8 billion road construction shortfall it may be the time for Nevada "to start down this path."


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