nevada highway users coalition
July 22, 2010 - NHUC Newsletter: Candidates Questioned on Transportation
Dear Highway User:
During this election cycle the coalition has reached out to interview four legislative candidates. The coalition feels it is important to get the interviewed candidate’s point of view on the future of transportation in the state of Nevada, as well as to better inform them on transportation issues. Leading up to the election this newsletter will feature one candidate in each issue. This month we feature Cresent Hardy, candidate for Assembly 20 that covers most of eastern Clark County.
Assembly Candidate Cresent Hardy meets with Nevadans on the campaign trail.

Transportation Issues Interview With Assembly Candidate Cresent Hardy
Cresent Hardy is a general contractor running for Assembly District 20, a district that covers much of the eastern part of Clark County. Mr. Hardy has also served as a Mesquite Councilman and Mesquite Public Works Director.

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

Cresent Hardy: I know that we need to properly fund transportation so that we can create jobs and attract businesses to our state. The funding side is important but the cost side of the equation is also. It may not be considered innovative but is certainly rare in government to say we need to look at low cost, but high quality construction bids and companies. Government restrictions on who can bid for a project or artificial criteria on submissions do nothing but limit competition, increase costs and cost the taxpayers more money.

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

CH: These are all worthy ideas to explore. User fees should be applied to those who use the roads and want good services. You get what to pay for. Concrete, asphalt and materials that go into building our roads have increased in cost over the years and we can’t expect to pay the same price today as we did 20 years ago. A gallon of milk costs more today than it did in 1980 and concrete and rebar are no different. We need to efficiently fund our infrastructure.

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?

CH: Transportation is not the top of the list for my constituents at this time. I believe that it is one of the top priorities. Fixing our infrastructure and making sure we have good transportation will help our economy rebound. Employees, employers, and suppliers will all benefit from building and fixing infrastructure to create an economic trickle-down effect. Also, many of these projects take years to design, build, and complete. We need to continue to plan and prepare for the future to ensure we don’t have infrastructure failures or gridlock.

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 could 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?

CH: I would be very interested in redirecting the funds that were used in the general fund back to the transportation budget. I would like to have some accountability on where the $50 million is being used in the general fund to see if it is generating a positive impact.

Nevada Updates
 

Making Connections in South Reno
In the commercial heart of southern Reno, NDOT recently broke ground on the U.S. 395 Meadowood interchange project to improve travel through one of the city’s most congested traffic hubs.

Pictured Left to Right: Ashley Carrigan (Congressman Dean Heller’s office), Gov. Gibbons, NDOT Director Susan Martinovich, RTC Executive Director Lee Gibson, Bob Herbert (Sen. Harry Reid’s office) and RTC Commissioner Dave Aiazzi

The project will use a multi-prong approach to enhance traffic flow around the busy commercial hub. A new freeway interchange will also be built and Meadowood Way extended from South Virginia Street to Kietzke Lane under U.S. 395, further alleviating congestion and enhancing connectivity.

The project is a partnership between NDOT and the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County. The project is expected to be complete in approximately two and a half years.

I-15 Road work is Risky Business for Workers and Inattentive Drivers
The I-15 project in Las Vegas combines high volume of traffic combined with the cozy distance between workers and high-speed traffic. On top of that, they have to do the work without interrupting traffic during the day and setting up detours at night. Read more. The project has lost one of its workers. Read more.

Hoover Bypass Heading to Finish Line
Few would have guessed the Hoover Dam bypass would become an engineering marvel second only to its neighbor, the Hoover Dam itself? Crews faced overwhelming challenges, from digging foundations off steep canyon walls to erecting the tallest pre-cast columns in the world. Read more.

Fed Grant to Stimulate Transit Project
UNLV will be home to a new transit center, thanks to a grant announced recently by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The $2.8 million grant, received by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, will be used to build a transit center on more than an acre of land near the In and Out Burger on Maryland Parkway. Read more.

I-80 Center of Elko Highway Projects
Nevada’s lifeline will get the lion’s share of NDOT funding votes the next 10 years. Elko County Commissioners were told this month more than $100 million in highway projects in Elko County have been proposed. One of the largest projects in Elko County will be maintenance on a stretch of Interstate 80 east of the Oasis interchange to just west of the Pilot Valley interchange, an approximately $29 million project. Read more.

New Techniques Will Get US 395 Project Rolling
Pre-fabricated concrete panels will be used on the US 395 project. Used on the East coast, this technique can save time over pouring in place and provides a longer-lasting roadway surface. The project, which started in late March and should be completed in fall 2011, will widen one of the Northern Nevada’s most congested highways. U.S. 395 at Glendale Avenue handles 150,000 vehicles per day. Read more.

Fact Checker: Did Vehicle Registration Fees Increase after 2009 Legislature?
In 2009 the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 429 that increased the Government Services Tax (GST) by 10% on all passenger vehicles including fully depreciated vehicles. Read more.

National Updates
Roads to Ruin
Many local governments are having trouble funding all services. Some communities have made the choice to let the roads deteriorate to gravel due to insufficient funds. Read more.
A road crew in Jamestown, N.D., where road repair means reclaiming the original asphalt and processing it to resemble gravel.
Photo by Dan Koeck for The Wall Street Journal


 

Today’s Biggest Bargain: Maintaining Your Roads and Highways
Summer drivers are paying less than ever at the pump for upkeep of the nation's roads — just $19 in gas taxes for every 1,000 miles driven, a USA TODAY analysis finds. That's a new low in inflation-adjusted dollars, half what drivers paid in 1975. Another measure of the trend: Americans spent just 46 cents on gas taxes for every $100 of income in the first quarter of 2010. That's the lowest rate since the government began keeping track in 1929. By comparison, Americans spent $1.18 in 1970 on gas taxes out of every $100 earned. Read more.

As We Keep On Trucking: Transportation Crisis Not Going Away
According to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 20 years, there will be an additional truck for every two on the road today, adding to our nation's already congested bottlenecks. In Unlocking Freight, AASHTO finds that our highways, railroads, ports, waterways, and airports require investments well beyond current levels to maintain - much less improve - their performance. The report identifies key projects in 30 states that would improve freight delivery and dependability, and offers a three-point plan to address what is needed to relieve freight congestion, generate jobs and improve productivity. Read more.

Plug In Instead of Fill Er Up
Washington State’s transportation and commerce departments are teaming up to implement the nation’s first “electric highway,” an initial network of public access electric vehicle (EV) recharging locations along Interstate 5. Once implemented, Washington will have the first border to border highway to offer fast charge technology. The projected is being jump-startred with $1.32 million in Federal Recovery Act funding. Read more.

Biking and Walking Gets Boost in Fed Transportation Funds
Spending on biking and walking projects rose from less than $600 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009. Twenty years ago, the federal government was spending only $6 million a year on such projects. The spending on biking and walking projects was scheduled to rise last year anyway, but the administration boosted it with $400 million in funds set aside under the economic recovery program. Read more.

National Transportation Plan Misses the Mark
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently published its “Strategic Plan for FY2010-FY2015” and invited public comment. A former World Bank economist says it may be a menace to the nation’s mobility and the Federal Highway Fund should be dissolved and its taxing power given to the states. Read more.


Factoid
Hoover Dam, the largest single public works project in the history of the United States, contains 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete, which is enough to pave a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York. - Nevada Fast Facts, Nevada State Library and Archives

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