Freeway path steps closer to reality

Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko has one goal: make sure the Carson City freeway gets funded.

At least, that's his goal for the coming week.

Making sure a multi-use path gets built with the freeway is running a close second in the goal department.

Masayko met with Gov. Kenny Guinn on Thursday to continue hashing out details which could lead to the state including the $3.4 million path in the construction of Phase 1B of the freeway.

Masayko said he wasn't ready to release details of the meeting pending "clarification of the approach we're taking, the costs and other details."

"We're still dealing in concepts. My critical path right now is to make sure the vehicular project goes forward," he said. "We need to focus on the big picture. All the rest are collateral issues. Our project needs to be the priority. It needs to move forward with funding."

The State Transportation Board meets July 13 and will decide on increasing the budget for the first phase of the freeway from about $92 million to $136 million. The decision to increase costs for the freeway were delayed in May pending meetings between the mayor and the governor.

Guinn and Masayko have been working on a solution to some drainage issues related to the freeway. Guinn presented an idea in the May 9 state transportation board meeting to use city land to curb some costs of freeway right of way through the Lompa wetlands south of Highway 50 East.

The plan is similar after two months of meetings between the two men, Guinn said, but engineering elements are still being worked out. Guinn said one of three options have emerged in the quest to cut costs, and he still wants the one that requires the least land.

Masayko and Guinn both said the most recent plan involves wetland mitigation and building a regional water quality reservoir that would treat storm water before letting water continue to the Carson River. The reservoir may help the state with their dispute with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over the amount of land needed for drainage structures.

Guinn said originally, the state was looking at taking between 120 and 130 acres of Lompa wetlands.

"If you can save five, 10, 15 or 20 acres, you're looking at some pretty significant savings," Guinn said.

He said he didn't know how much money or land the state would save, but there will be savings.

"We're willing to share some of the money we can save," Guinn said. "We know we can save some money, we just don't know how much. If we save money, we'll set a floor and a ceiling amount to see what we can allocate to the city. We got together and had savings. For helping us with the deal we ask the city, 'What's your priority? How do you want to help yourself?"

Guinn said he took a personal interest in the multi-use path/landscaping/drainage issue because "that's one of my styles of administration."

"Sometimes you have to show the people you're willing to work with them," he said. "To me, it's just good collaboration between the city and the state."

Masayko said the projections for the 3.8-mile path and freeway landscaping look good.

"The path is still in our plans as well as restorative vegetation on that freeway," he said. "There is a fair sum of money out there to be saved. That's why we're going through all these gyrations."


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