Railway audit clean; revenue exceeds $20M

Revenues for the state commission tasked with reconstructing the historic Virginia & Truckee Railway from Carson City to Gold Hill exceeded $20 million in the last fiscal year, according to a recently released audit report.

The Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway chairman said this sets up the project for a decisive 2007.

Kristen Burgess, shareholder at Kafoury, Armstrong & Co., which conducted the audit, said the railway had a clean audit. The commission received a huge inflow of revenue in the last year, which will be used in coming years for rail construction.

"This is outstanding for the public to know that the funds they entrusted us with, gas-tax money, private and state grants and local taxpayer money, is spent properly and judiciously," said Bob Hadfield, commission chairman.

The $40 million V&T Railway is expected to carry tourists between Virginia City and Carson City by 2010. So far the commission has completed 1.8 miles of track from the Gold Hill Depot to American Flat.

In 2007, the commission will build the next 4.5 miles of track from American Flat, in Storey County, to the Frehner Pit, off Industrial Parkway, in Mound House. Contracts for this $5 million project will be sought by May, following the acquisition of remaining right-of-way, permits and the completion of engineering plans, said project engineer Ken Dorr.

Securing and reconstructing Tunnel No. 2, located near the Lyon and Storey county lines, for train passage is expected to cost $3 million, Dorr said.

The railway is funded by private and public monies, including an eighth-of-a-cent sales tax increase in Carson City that collected $274,800 from when it went into effect April to June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The commission collected $1.1 million in state grants, $14.8 million from Carson City bonds and $4.3 million from the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau. Total revenues in fiscal year 2006 reached $23 million, compared to $244,800 in 2005.

The commission's net assets increased from $1.4 million in 2005 to $24.8 million in 2006, following the completion of the first phase of track.

Over the next two years, the V&T will receive $8.5 million from federal highway funds for the project.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

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