Carson transportation officials delay freeway decision | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson transportation officials delay freeway decision

Jill Lufrano

Carson City’s transportation board will meet at the end of the month to consider contributing $15 million in gas tax funds to the state freeway project.

The Waterfall fire prompted the Regional Transportation Commission to cancel its meeting Wednesday, when the board was expected to consider the freeway agreement. Commissioners were also expected to decide whether the city will precede with the Roop Street widening project this year.

Both decisions will be delayed until a special meeting July 29.

Commissioners decided to cancel the meeting after the public was hindered from attending because of the fire, said commission chairman and city Supervisor Richard Staub.

In the agreement, the city would contribute $15 million through a 5 cents-per-gallon gas tax to the second phase of the freeway.

The Nevada Transportation Commission would agree to seek contracts to build the freeway section from Highway 50 East to Fairview Drive by February 2006, and complete the entire freeway by 2010.

As part of the deal, the state will forgive the city’s interest payments on the first half (a savings of $4 million). The city would also keep three years of tax funds (about $5.1 million) to pay for other projects, like widening Fairview Drive.

In 2002, the city would be able to keep 2 cents per gallon of the tax to pay for needed projects, giving the city about $700,000. That would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors, said City Manager Linda Ritter.

City officials say funding the project would solve more traffic problems than any other streets project the city could complete on its own.

“To solve so many transportation problems with that amount of money – it’s a very, very good deal,” Ritter said last week.

The city contributed $19 million for the first freeway phases that will deliver the roadway to Highway 50 East.

The total project is estimated to cost $265 million.

Also on the agenda, the transportation commission is expected to decide whether to delay awarding the Roop Street widening project. Contractors proposed bid amounts that exceeded original estimates by about $2 million.

The expensive proposals were probably the result of an overabundance of construction work in the area, few available contractors and the complexity of the project, officials said last month.

The city has until Aug. 3 to make a decision before contractors can withdraw their bids.

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.