Washoe and Clark say it's time to raise taxes or face gridlock

Nevada's two largest counties laid out more than $3.5 billion worth of needs for urban streets and highways Monday.

Regional transportation directors from Washoe and Clark counties proposed to state legislators a combination of tax changes and increases to fund the projects, saying the alternative for the Reno and Las Vegas areas is gridlock.

Gregory Krause of the Washoe Transportation Authority said the area's solution to raise more than $740 million over the next 30 years would be a combination of $1,928 per house in development fees and a square-foot charge of up to $3.90 for commercial and retail development.

In addition, he said the county is calling for a one-eighth percent increase in the sales tax.

Jacob Snow of the Clark County Authority said officials want a development tax of $1,000 per residence and $1 per square foot for commercial property and an increase in the jet fuel tax.

For their part, he said local governments in the south will dedicate a nickel of their combined property tax to transportation needs.

And finally, he said a one-quarter percent sales tax hike would complete the $2.7 billion package over the next 30 years.

They said roadway and public transportation needs are critical in the south and growing dramatically in the north. The number of vehicle miles traveled in Nevada has risen 73 percent in the past decade to 17.6 billion miles in 2000. It will increase another 70 percent to 30 billion miles by 2025.

According to a study by the Nevada Highway Users Alliance, that is by far the fastest growth rate in the nation. The study says the state has outgrown its existing road system, resulting in more fatalities, vehicle and tire damage, wasted time and gas in traffic jams and numerous other problems.

The legislative committee studying local government taxation took no action on the reports.


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