Governor leery of NDOT plan to computerize highway projects selection

Gov. Brian Sandoval made it clear Monday he has serious questions about the Nevada Department of Transportation request for a computer program to help decide which road and highway projects should have top priority.

Director Rudy Malfabon presented the proposal saying the program “Decision Lens” would use complex programming to speed and improve the process of selecting projects.

“If we have an additional $150 million, what are we going to spend it on,” Malfabon said.

“You need a computer program for that?” Sandoval asked.

After NDOT officials told him National Football League teams use the same program to help in making draft picks, Sandoval said: “But we don’t have a football team.”

The development of the program would cost the state about $290,000 and Malfabon said there would probably be licensing costs of about $100,000 a year after that.

Malfabon said the system would make the process of prioritizing projects — especially changes as new funding is realized or money is cut — more efficient.

Sandoval said he is willing to listen to a presentation on the proposal at the next meeting but that, “it’s hard for me to understand how substitute that judgment for somebody’s in the department.”

He made it clear the department has some work to do to convince him a computer program can replace the expertise of veteran NDOT engineers.


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