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September 2, 2014

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Legislature 2013:

Clark County could get more clout on state Transportation Board

Clark County may get another member on the state Transportation Board to quiet complaints it is getting shortchanged in the distribution of road-building money.

The Senate Finance Committee on Sunday unanimously approved a bill to allow the governor to appoint another representative to the seven-member board, at the same time removing the state attorney general as a voting member.

Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, who introduced the original bill, gave his blessing to the amended bill.

But it’s tamed down from the original version, which would have junked the full board and replaced it with eight representatives from Clark County, two from Washoe and one from the rural counties.

The board is presently made up of the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the state controller, and one representative each from Clark, Washoe and the rural counties.

Committee Chairwoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has agreed to her removal since there are at least six deputy attorneys at the transportation to oversee legal matters.

Gerald Gardner, chief of staff for Gov. Brian Sandoval, told the committee he disagrees there is a disparity in the distribution of construction money. But he gave his support to the revised bill, Senate Bill 322.

Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon said after the committee hearing that Clark County has received 60 percent of the state highway construction funds in the past five years.

The study shows that Clark County accounts for 68 percent of the gasoline tax that is used to build roads. But when revenue from the special fuels tax is included, the total for Clark County is 60.3 percent of the revenue.

The bill goes to the Senate floor. But it appears it will finally be approved under the compromise that has been worked out.

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