Carson City road repair financing report to be heard Wednesday

A report is expected Wednesday on lack of money for road repairs or capital projects to upgrade Carson City’s street system.

It is anticipated during the Regional Transportation Commission meeting Wednesday afternoon at the city’s Community Center.

Supervisors John McKenna and Brad Bonkowski, the two members on the Board of Supervisors who also serve on the RTC, say they are “acutely aware” of the shortage. They look forward to the report designed to keep both the RTC and the public abreast of the problem. They said not only are there insufficient funds for significant projects, but the $1 million or so per year for repairs falls short of needs. The repair shortfall keeps rising.

“The differential goes up every year,” said Bonkowski. He also noted though city government gets two cents of the nickel that was dedicated originally just for constructing the I-580 freeway, parts of Carson and William streets were turned over by state government to the city, which increased ongoing maintenance costs. That two cents generates about $666,000 for this fiscal year, according to city government.

“It’s definitely not enough,” said Bonkowski.

The Wednesday report from Transportation Manager Patrick Pittenger will cover roadway maintenance and capital project needs, and could delve into ways to increase the funding that could include indexing of the gasoline tax. Previewing his report, Pittenger said city repair money is down 11 percent from the 2007 peak due to fuel efficiency and less driving, yet roads are seven years older.

Bonkowski, meanwhile, said the RTC and the governing board could ask the Nevada Legislature to consider moving toward gas tax indexing, but there might be a state-level initiative instead for all counties outside Washoe and Clark counties. Those two populous urban counties already have indexing, Bonkowski said, but such a proposed change would require lengthy discussion.

“We’re, literally, like 20 cents a gallon cheaper,” he said, comparing Carson City gas prices with those in Reno. He said though something needs to be done because there have been no major street projects here since 2010 and maintenance also is falling behind, those who sell gas locally will likely want to weigh in on whether indexing and higher prices make sense.

McKenna, the RTC chairman, is expected to gavel the panel’s meeting to order in the Community Center’s Sierra Room at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The center, which is at the corner of East William and North Roop streets, is near city government’s last major street capital improvement project. It was the 2010 Roop street reconstruction project near the center, the library and the aquatic center.

Road repairs, meanwhile, are done on an eight-year cycle that is keyed to the amount and type of use streets receive and to available road repair funds.


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