Bill would give Carson more power over V&T

Carson City would have more control over the state commission building the V&T railway under a bill introduced by State Sen. Mark Amodei.

Senate bill 291 would add two seats to the nine-member Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway. One of the new seats would be a second representative from the Carson City Board of Supervisors. The other new seat would be a representative from the V&T commission's fundraising arm, the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation.

The Senate Government Affairs Committee will look at the bill Friday.

Janice Ayres, director of the railway foundation, would likely be the representative from the foundation. Ayres, a former Carson City supervisor, was a member of the commission from its start in 1993 until Gov. Jim Gibbons picked Carson City businessman Dwight Millard as his new commission representative in 2007.

Amodei said he introduced the bill Monday because Ayres, author of the bill, asked him to.

Ayres said Carson City deserves a bigger voice on the commission because it has raised most of the money for the 18-mile tourist railroad planned to run between Carson City and Virginia City. Carson raised $21 million of the $37 million of the commission's through sales and room taxes.

The railway foundation, she said, needs a representative.

"If you want me to go out and raise money and do all the grunt work, I want a seat at the table," she said.

Commission Chairman Bob Hadfield, representative for the state assembly speaker, said he supports the bill. He said Carson City's contribution "should be recognized somehow."

Not all commissioners support the bill, however, he said.

Commission Vice Chairman John Flanagan, Storey County's representative, said he is "quite upset" about it.

"They're stacking the deck against the other counties," he said. "Carson City will have all the representation."

Only two members on the potential 11-member commission would be appointed by Carson City. Five members including representatives from the governor, the V&T Historic Society and the railway foundation would be from Carson City, however.

Lyon County, Douglas County, Washoe County and the state senate majority leader also have representatives on the commission.

About 11 miles of the track will be done in summer. The total price of the railroad is expected to be at least $55 million.

- Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

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