Best freeway deal we’re going to get | NevadaAppeal.com

Best freeway deal we’re going to get

Nevada Appeal editorial board

A $15 million contribution from Carson City toward construction of the southern half of the freeway isn’t necessarily a great deal, but it’s the best residents are going to get.

We, and everybody else who buys gas in Carson City, already are paying a nickel a gallon to help get the freeway built. It’s an agreement residents have lived up to, even though we’ve had our quibbles with exactly how well the Nevada Department of Transportation has lived up to its end of the bargain.

For example, we’ve questioned the priority of Interstate 580, the massive and expensive project under way now to bypass Highway 395 from Reno. But as long as it and the Carson City project can both proceed, we’ll not press the point.

Then there are two issues being addressed in the agreement being considered today between the city and state – a definite deadline for completion of the southern half of the freeway, and planning for bike and pedestrian ways as part of its construction.

The pledge of $15 million more in Carson City gas tax to get a firm commitment from the state for completion of the whole thing by 2010 is simply a continuation of the current deal. We could argue the state should be fulfilling its commitment to build a bypass without our having to kick in a gas tax, but we gave up that idea seven years ago.

As for the bike and pedestrian paths, though the planning at least is being revived, Carson City residents should demand a satisfactory solution. It’s terribly short-sighted to construct a major freeway through the middle of town without accommodating foot and bike traffic.

After all, as we’ve pointed out so many times before, one of the reasons traffic is so congested in Carson City is that people have to put their lives in peril in order to walk or pedal from one side of town to the other.

For now, we’ll take the proposed agreement because it makes sense. Carson residents won’t be satisfied, however, until the bypass – and pedestrian- and bike-friendly paths – are done too.