‘V&T is a dynamic force’ | NevadaAppeal.com

‘V&T is a dynamic force’

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Shawn Dornan, left, and Warren Butler align a rail on the V&T railroad project in Gold Hill on Thursday.
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If there was ever anything to make a Carson City casino manager happy, it would be the expectation of 160,000 visitors driving past that casino/hotel a year.

Their destination may be the tourist train ride up to Virginia City on the reconstructed historic Virginia & Truckee Railway, but they’re staying at your hotel, eating at the restaurant, and prompting the construction of more commercial properties to boost property tax, which could also trickle down to businesses in the form of economic incentives.

“We’ll add hotel rooms on it we have to,” said Piñon Plaza Director of Operations Sean Sever. “What a great draw to Carson City and to the Piñon Plaza.”

He said that the V&T is the future for tourism in Carson City. The Piñon Plaza has 148 rooms and could add another 100.

Capital Engineering is already affected by the V&T because it’s part of the design team.

The Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway chose Capital Engineering to lead the engineering for the infrastructure design and right-of-way for the reconstruction of the tourist line from American Flat to Deer Run Road in Carson City.

The team also includes Carter Burgess, Lumos and Associates, architect John Copoulos, all of Carson City; Geocon Consultants of Minden; and Piedmont Surveying of Silver City.

The V&T makes a lot of people giddy. Take a look at the figures:

Tourism and government officials promise it’ll bring a $40 million boost during the construction phase, and $18 million annually after the railway is completed, which is $8 million in nongaming revenue and $10 million in gaming revenue. The 17 miles to Gold Hill should be completed by 2009.

“I think it’s going to be nothing but positive in every direction,” said Thurman’s Ranch House owner Skip Thurman. “I think we’re going to have more people and it’ll do nothing but help the Highway 50 corridor.”

Thurman, 58, has never been on a locomotive, but he’s looking forward to riding the V&T. As soon as he sees the effects he may remodel parts of his dining room and add some historical pictures and items to the family style restaurant decor.

Bill Miles, owner of Bill Miles Construction, said the V&T is a dynamic force that will attract more residents and businesses to locate here.

“It’ll definitely be beneficial just because it’ll bring more synergy to the area,” he said.

Ron Allen, an independent insurance adjuster, also a member of the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T, said the railway could inspire tourist shops devoted to the railroad.

“The Durango & Silverton hauls 250,000 to 270,000 passengers a year and both towns have all types of those tourist-orientated shops,” Allen said. “Silverton is basically like Virginia City. I foresee the same thing happening here at both ends.”

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been in continuous operation for more than 123 years, carrying passengers the 45 miles from Durango to Silverton on locomotives indigenous to the line.

The V&T will only be about 20 miles from the Carson City terminal, planned for Deer Run Road, to Virginia City. The tracks are nearly completed for phase one, from American Flat to the Gold Hill Depot.

If businesses want to donate to the reconstruction effort, contact the Northern Nevada Railway Foundation which is the fund-raising arm of the commission.

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

The V&T Railway reconstruction project needs about $30 million

Adding it up so far:

• $4 million bonded from the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau

• $1 million from Storey County sales tax.

• $2.8 million from the Inter Surface Transportation Enhancement Act, the previous federal transportation bill

• $1 million from the state tourism commission

$500,000 state grant from the Nevada Legislature

• $800,000 for the portion of the project in Lyon County, which includes Tunnel No. 2

• $20,000 from Washoe County

• $50,000 for the restoration of a rail car, donated by the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors

• About $80,000 raised from the V&T license plates and coins

What’s in the works:

• $10 million from the next transportation bill, which hasn’t been signed

• $2 million from the Lyon County Lands Act, if passed

The Northern Nevada Railway Foundation has set up an account at the First National Bank Of Nevada, 1101 N. Carson St., to pay for the steam engine. People who donate $100 or more will be placed on the foundation’s wall of honor.