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August 29, 2014

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Senate bill seeks toll road around Boulder City

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Justin M. Bowen

Traffic leaving town gathers on U.S. 93 near the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge outside Boulder City on Friday, Feb. 25, 2011.

Boulder City Traffic

Traffic leaves town heading toward Henderson on U.S. 93 near Veterans Memorial Drive in Boulder City on Friday, Feb. 25, 2011. Launch slideshow »

CARSON CITY — Construction of a $400 million bypass to relieve traffic in Boulder City could cost the state very little — if it were built as a toll road.

The Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday heard witness after witness testify about traffic snarls that could be as long as 10 miles plaguing Boulder City, and there was unanimous support for building the 14.5 mile bypass.

State Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, is pushing SB-214 to require the state Department of Transportation to join with a private partner to finance the work.

The state already has spent $30 million on studies and an environmental impact statement.

Hardy told the committee that a representative from a private company approached him and said the firm would be willing to finance the $400 million project. And there are other investors with billions of dollars looking for good place to put their money, he said.

But he can’t talk to them because toll roads are not permitted in Nevada.

Since the new Hoover Dam bypass bridge has been open, traffic has increased through the city and created the bottleneck.

Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler said the problem has hurt economic activity in the city, and there has been an increase in accidents.

Pressed by Sen. Shirley Breeden, D-Henderson, Scott Rawlins of the Department of Transportation said a preliminary estimate of the toll might be 50 cents or $1. He stressed these were early estimates and there would be no difference in fees between trucks and cars.

Transportation Director Susan Martinovich told the committee that it plans a $10 million road-widening project this summer on U.S. 93 to help ease the traffic problem.

Carole Vilardo of the Nevada Taxpayers Association said she did not view the proposed toll as a tax. A motorist, she said, has a choice whether to spend the money to drive around the city.

She said the association has been supportive of toll roads with safeguards.

Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, said he has always been hesitant about tolls roads. He wanted assurance that tolling would not be expanded to Interstate 15 or U.S. 95.

Hardy told him the tolling in SB-214 applies only to this project.

The bill permits tolls to vary during the course of the day or week. Cameras and other mechanisms could be used to make sure motorists pay, instead of requiring them to stop at a booth.

The committee did not take any action.

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  1. Keep the roads free in what's left of the wild west here in Nevada.

  2. As a former resident of Oklahoma City toll roads of this nature are a very bad for everyone but the investors. If there are investors with billions of dollars looking for good place to put their money why not arrange a loan to the state for the improvements, then if nothing else the state operates it as a toll road until the loan is repaid, and the economy improves, then it becomes a normal "free" hi-way

    The investors get a reasonable return on their investment, the state gets to do needed improvements, and Boulder City can stop whining..... Oh well 2 of 3 ain't bad!

  3. Whoever votes yes to this will be unseated. Sorry to BC, but what did you think was happening when they built that bridge? I like to visit BC but it's not Pleasantville where everything stays the same for 50 years.

  4. A private company should be free to build a toll road. That said, I think that infrastructure projects such as this are properly the province of the state.

    We, as voters, can hold the state accountable for the overall quality of service. That can not be said of private firms other than by refusing to use the service they provide. Having good roads is vital to our economy, which puts this in the public realm.

    Better transportation will benefit all residents of Nevada.

  5. This but another example of regulations that interfere with private enterprise. Toll roads are not mandatory as there is always a "free" alternative to using them. Floyd, you can choose to patronize any business or not. That should be strictly up to you (or I). It is not the government's business. But, anti-capitalists oppose nearly any business making a profit because of the "politics of envy," and are Luddites, for the most part, so they want to force others to do as they say by enacting laws to do just that. Thanks, but no thanks! I prefer to keep my freedoms intact!

  6. Toll roads are a good idea - its a user fee. Use the road you pay the fee.

    We should look into leasing out existing highways in Nevada to private companies to collect fees as well. Maybe even look into leasing land to build a toll road between Vegas and Reno.

    This way we can take hundreds of millions of dollars in expenditures off the books and lower the gas tax. With congestion pricing we can also discourage use at peak times, reduce traffic and thus reduce pollution. Surface streets can remain free.

  7. Toll roads are a good idea, because toll roads can pay for rail and bus travel.

    Put a toll road on I80 and I15 and use them, along with this toll road to pay for high speed rail Bay Area/ Sacramento to Reno Tahoe and LA to Vegas Mag Lev.

    A Reno - Vegas toll road should be implemented and the fees used to support a Reno-Vegas train. (the right of way is already there.) It could be a train that carries cars, like the one going to Florida.

    We need a cylinder tax on cars in Nevada to pay for mass transit.
    1 cylinder $100,
    2 $300
    3 $500
    4 $1000
    5 $2000
    6 $6000
    over six cylinders should be banned.

    People like local hate radio ranter Harry Boyles (or something like that) has gas guzzler cars (Aston Martin and a Yukon - non hybrid) This should be considered and environmental hate crime and one of the cars should be impounded and crushed.)

  8. Also, in cars the diplacement per cylinder should be limited to 600 cc'c per cylinder. (Larger OK in motorcycles)

    So you can't cheat by putting in a big displacement 4 cylinder. It would not work well anyway.

    http://forums.motortrend.com/70/8520994/...

  9. mred never met a tax he didn't like, as long as someone else is paying for it and paying his way in life. ;-)