Gibbons: No new taxes to fund road projects | NevadaAppeal.com

Gibbons: No new taxes to fund road projects

KEN RITTER
Associated Press Writer

LAS VEGAS – Nevada faces a $3.8 billion shortfall in highway project funding, but Gov.-elect Jim Gibbons said Tuesday that he’s against any tax or fee increases that might help to generate revenue to reduce that shortfall.

Gibbons, at a news conference called to announce the promotion of Susan Martinovich from deputy director to director of the state Transportation Department, said there are other ways to develop the needed funding.

“We are not going to increase taxes and fees to the people of the state of Nevada,” Gibbons said, adding that he made a no-new-taxes promise in campaigning for governor and won’t renege on it.

The incoming Republican governor said there may be surplus funds available for some new road work in the nation’s fastest-growing state.

He also said savings could be achieved by getting construction projects started earlier, and by engaging in public-private partnerships.

A task force report that’s going to the 2007 Legislature suggested money-raising options such as inflation-driven increases in state gasoline taxes, or doubling the cost of driver’s licenses to $40 for four years. As far as Gibbons is concerned, those are off the table.

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Other proposals to raise money for road projects include a shift in sales taxes on vehicle sales and repairs from the state general fund to a highway construction fund, and a reduction in a depreciation allowance that motorists now get when registering vehicles.

The task force said the proposals would produce about $300 million a year at the start and increase over time. Transportation Department officials have said the additional revenue could be used to pay off a bond issue that would cover a large part of various highway “super-projects.”