Carson City Bypass: Repatriating revenues for roadwork eyed

Carson City Supervisor Brad Bonkowski addresses the crowd at the press conference regarding plans for finishing the I-580 project Thursday.

Carson City Supervisor Brad Bonkowski addresses the crowd at the press conference regarding plans for finishing the I-580 project Thursday.

Repatriating corporate dollars now sheltered from U.S. taxes overseas is one way to find roadwork revenue, a transportation official said Thursday in Carson City.

Lee Gibson, executive director of the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, made that point when transport officials gathered at the future I-580 intersection on dirt which becomes pavement when the freeway is extended to south Carson City in a final phase through the state capital in coming months. The news conference was held to urge Congress fully fund the federal Highway Trust Fund rather than shortchanging it.

Gibson said one idea to fund it is for Congress to tax corporate money now sheltered overseas at a lower rate here, repatriating it and then dedicating resulting revenue so the trust fund can give roads and related transport needs in the state and nation a boost. He said other methods under discussion by Congress are raising the gasoline tax outright or tying it to a price index so it raises more money.

Carl Hasty, district manager of Tahoe Transportation District, urged congressional action as well but also pushed for a Nevada United Transportation Investment Plan. He said that could help with Silver State transport funding needs via concerted action of cooperating communities. “It is time for us at the local level to do our part,” he said.

Carson City Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, chairman of the city’s Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), said the “transportation system moves our people and our economy” as he joined the Stand Up 4 Transportation news conference chorus. Bonkowski said the slowly evolving freeway project, now nearing completion from Fairview Lane to U.S. 395 and the link with U.S. Highway 50 West, has been a partnership.

He said Carson City tax money, along with federal highway system dollars, have gone into the freeway project or related work, and Carson City residents are “very eager to see it open to here.” The outdoors news conference was Thursday afternoon on the dirt roadway north of Western Nevada Supply Co., east of U.S. Highway 395 and perhaps a mile from Carson City’s southern border with Douglas County.

Reid Kaiser, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) assistant operations director, said four decades ago his father was a Carson City planner. He said his dad knows the project’s history and still “keeps track of it.”

Kaiser said there’s sufficient funding at NDOT to do the link for freeway work about to be contracted. When it’s done, now targeted for 2017 he said, there won’t be a traffic signal light from near where he stood all the way to Susanville, Calif., which is well north of Reno. He also said, however, there are still plenty of roadwork needs and yet the Highway Trust Fund is set to expire unless Congress acts.

The Stand Up 4 Transportation news conference was hosted by Buzz Harris, a consultant for the Tahoe Transportation District, who introduced participants and handled traffic cop duties during questioning from those on hand.


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