Letters to the editor
Let’s have the V&T ‘boon’ without the ‘doggle’
The Virginia and Truckee Reconstruction project is sold as a do-or-die proposition. We’ve heard this from Mayor Marv, Commission Chairman Bob Hadfield and Railway Foundation Member Janice Ayres, who recently said “the only thing that’s going to bring money into Carson City is a rebuilt railroad.” I totally support the project and believe the rebuilt V&T will have a long term positive economic impact on Carson City. I also think the tax proposal is a good one, considering that it goes beyond standard tax-and-spend proposals and has a payback of 5 percent of the railroad’s gross receipts.
Having said that, this project has suffered from bad governance. For years the commission has worked largely without the public scrutiny it needs to stay efficient and transparent. I have been making document requests for public records that have gone unfilled for months. The commission was taken aback at the last meeting to find that people are coming to the meetings to ask tough questions about where the project is headed and what the final costs will be. When I tried to get a ballpark figure of total costs, Chairman Hadfield set up a straw man and said costs can’t be figured down to the dollar. I was simply asking “how big is the ballpark? Within a few million how much will this cost?”
This project was originally sold as a $20 million project. $10 million in private financing was promised back in 1995 but never appeared. By 2005 it became a $36 million project, then a $44 million project, and now the costs could easily go to $60 million. Carson City supposedly will benefit during the construction phase, but we are seeing contracts awarded to CA-based companies with CA-based employees who will spend the bulk of their pay in California.
In 1995 testimony at a state hearing it was said that all the money for the project would be collected before any money was spent. Now we have the opposite situation where Commissioner McPherson recently said, “this project is past the point of no return” – another do-or-die statement. My view is that we are challenged to finish the railroad to make sure the money already spent doesn’t go to waste.
It may be a do-or-die project, but it must be done with good governance, open records and solid accounting. We should know what we are paying for and how much it will cost, once and for all!
The Commissioners work hard and have the best of intentions. At the same time one or two Commissioners have done things that make it appear they use their Commission seats to serve their personal agendas. Those Commissioners latest plan is to push Sierra Railroad aside and let the Commission run the railroad. The Commission has already shown its inability to contain costs. Citizens must rise to the occasion and help get this runaway train back on the track! Let’s have the “boon” without the “doggle.”
Things sure have changed
I just want to say that I am glad that Gov. Jim Gibbons paid for his phone texting on the state’s dime. I don’t feel so bad now cause I had to write the State of Nevada a check for two dollars and some cents for my phone call that they found I made. I am sure there are many phone calls made that aren’t ever caught.
I am kind of disappointed in Gov. Gibbons’ actions these days, because I remember when he was our Desert Storm war hero and I was working for the Legislature at that time. We went to the Reno airport and greeted him, when he flew in from overseas, and had the American flag flying from the open canopy of his jet.
Things sure have changed since those days and that goes from state government to Washington, D.C. I have since resigned from the state bureaucracy and am ready for CHANGE.