nevada highway users coalition
October 6, 2010
NHUC Newsletter: Help Improve Transportation in Nevada
by Supporting Question 4

Dear Highway Users:
This year there’s an important question affecting transportation issues that appears on the November election ballot. Thanks to the efforts of retired Clark County Commissioner, Bruce Woodbury, and other transportation advocates, Question 4 makes important changes to the Nevada PISTOL initiative (People’s Initiative to Stop the Taking of Our Land), which became effective after approval by voters in November 2008.

Prior to the final passage of the PISTOL initiative, a joint resolution was proposed in the 2007 legislative session to make modifications to several portions of the original PISTOL initiative. These changes included additional time for property to be held when secured by eminent domain, which will accommodate long lead times experienced for road projects to meet Federal environmental reviews.

This resolution was passed by both the 2007 and 2009 legislative sessions and is on the ballot for final passage as Question 4 in the November general election, in Nevada.

Please consider voting in support of Question 4 on the Nevada ballot this November 2nd.

The Nevada Highway User’s Coalition

Transportation Issues Interview with Assembly District 33 Candidate John Ellison: Part 2

John Ellison is running for Assembly District 33 that encompasses Elko County and surrounding areas. John Ellison currently serves as Elko County Commissioner and has also served as Elko City Councilman. Mr. Ellison is also an electrical contractor. AD 33 is a very rural area so transportation is essential for people of this area.

Nevada Highway Users Coalition: Do you have any innovative ideas for funding the future of transportation in Nevada?

John Ellison: It is difficult to fund all of the needs of our state especially with the current budget shortfall. We need to make changes as fuel tax revenues continue to decrease. There may be a way to redesign the formula for fuel taxes to compensate for different vehicles depending on their size and weight.

NHUC: Do you see vehicle miles traveled fees, weight distance taxes, toll roads or additional fees as part of the solution to solving our transportation funding problems?

JE: I do not favor vehicle miles traveled (VMT). VMT taxes will hurt businesses that depend on lots of travel. We need to revisit the formulas that are being applied to certain vehicles. We should probably look at varying levels of registration for vehicles such as hybrids and electric cars that may not be paying their fair share for the use of the roads.

NHUC: As you are walking door to door and meeting with potential future constituents in the state of Nevada, are you hearing about transportation issues?

JE: We are fortunate to currently have good highways in Nevada. The Department of Transportation has done a good job preserving Nevada’s highways. If we are not careful the roads will not last if they are not properly maintained, which will cause a serious deficit in our infrastructure. We cannot let our roads deteriorate. On the other hand, small rural towns cannot afford to pay for the maintenance and reconditioning of their roads. They need additional assistance.

NHUC: Are you aware that the 2009 legislature redirected an estimated $50 million from a portion of the Government Services Tax (GST) or vehicle registration fees that would have gone to transportation funding? Would you support reinstating that money into the Dept. of Transportation budgets that has the potential of creating $500 million worth of road and highway projects earlier than the 2013 session?

JE: Yes, we need to redirect these funds as soon as possible. We need to put people back to work. Maintaining our infrastructure is very important. Filling this void in the budget will be difficult but we need to do what we can to redirect funds where they are supposed to go.

Nevada Updates

Electronic Gadgetry Causing More Problems than They Solve?
Lawmakers, auto makers and consumers do not see eye to eye on distracted driving issues. Automakers are designing more innovative ways for drivers to use their electronic gadgets as they drive, while 5,500 people were killed and 455,000 injured in 2009 by crashes caused by distracted drivers. Read more.

A Las Vegas family tells a personal story of how they were impacted by a distracted driver. Read more.

Nevada Road Projects Providing Access, Jobs and Awards
In Henderson, residents will get better access with the opening of new roads. Read more.

In Sparks, the widening of Vista Blvd. added more capacity. Read more.

Both of these projects added to the quality of life within their communities. Additionally, a planned NDOT intersection project is met with mixed reactions since space is limited for the project and may affect property owners. Read more.

The Interstate 15 North Design-Build Project is one of 10 finalists in the America’s Transportation Awards competition, which is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Read more.

TRIP Reports 44% of Roads in Washoe County are in Poor Condition; Locals Officials Disagree
The non-profit organization, The Road Information Program (TRIP) found that a quarter of the roads in the Reno- Sparks Area are in substandard shape. The substandard road conditions cost drivers extra in operating costs. TRIP found that 72% of the roads in the area are in fair shape. This report was based on 2008 data prior to RTC 5 funding enhancements. Read more.

High Speed Rail Debate Continues
The idea of passengers speeding from city to city at 200 plus miles per hour and investing $8 billion of the economic stimulus package for high speed rail is met with opposition in a variety of ways. In addition to what routes and types of trains should be used, passenger train operators and freight carriers have differing ideas on how to share the right of way. Read more.

Could Roads Be Where the Rubber Meets the Rubber?
A Las Vegas Company has plans to use rubber from ground up tires to change the way asphalt fixes the roads. This new technology may be used on Nevada roads in the near future. Read more.

Completion of Hoover Dam Bypass Not All Good News for Boulder City
With the much anticipated opening of the Hoover Dam bypass coming in the next few months, traffic will move smoothly over the Dam. After crossing the dam and cruising along the new four lane road, drivers will reach a long debated two lane choke point. Read more.

Meanwhile, in each of the past two legislative sessions, Nevada lawmakers have rejected a bill that would allow the Boulder City bypass to be built as a toll road.

Interstate 11- Mexico to Canada by Way of Las Vegas or Crossroads
Is Las Vegas on the way to everything or at the crossroads of the West? One expert shares his thoughts. Read more.

Additional discussions about Interstate 11 linking western states with Mexico and Canada could connect several existing roads and high speed rail. This could assist in helping to jump start the economy and interconnect movement of commerce. Read more.

Meanwhile, Boulder City residents reject the idea of crossroads using U.S. 93. Read more.

UNLV Home to Transportation Research Center
The director of UNLV’s Transportation Research Center (TRC), says America does not have the money to maintain its roads, which could harm the economy long term. To learn more about the TRC, click here to read more.

National Updates
Highway Deaths on Pace for Record Low in 2010
If projections hold up for 2010, fewer than 30,000 people will be killed on roadways. In 2009 there were 33,808 fatalities and in 2008 there were 37,423. The economy may be the biggest factor, followed by increased safety of vehicles and buckling up. Read more.

Electric Cars Promoted in Connecticut
Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell signed an agreement to give electric cars sales taxes breaks, parking discounts, and even exemptions from some traffic laws. Read more.

International Updates
Temporary Fixes Used for Commonwealth Games in India
Athletes and delegates in India for the Commonwealth Games get better treatment than fans, as traffic enforcement has increased and roads are paved with paper thin asphalt. Read more.

According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2005 in Nevada there were 135 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. In 2009 the number of alcohol- impaired fatalities dropped that to 68. [Based on blood alcohol content of all involved drivers and motorcycle riders only NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts for Nevada 2005- 2009]

Become a Member
Click here for more info on how to join the Nevada Highway Users Coalition.
Tell Us Your Story
Email your highway experiences to:
Learn More
To learn more about NHUC's educational efforts, or arrange for a representative to speak to your group or organization, please email us:
nevada highway users coalition