Transit links to rural Nevada are considered

Las Vegas Sun

Dec. 3, 2003

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A legislative panel is looking into ways to establish rapid transit links between Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada's urban centers, and outlying communities.

"A lot of rural communities are drying up because there is no rapid transportation," said state Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, chairman of the legislative committee studying long-range mass transit within Nevada and to urban areas of neighboring states.

At the panel's first meeting Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, suggested a light rail system between Las Vegas and Pahrump, a distance of 60 miles. Titus also proposed links between Las Vegas, Logandale and Sandy Valley.

"If you build it, they will come," she said of the potential ridership.

Sen. Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas, said many people commute daily from Logandale to Las Vegas. He suggested a light rail loop in the eastern part of the state connecting Logandale, Mesquite, Caliente and Ely, adding that the system might eventually be expanded to include Reno.

Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, said he would want to first determine "what role the lack of transportation has placed in the decline of these rural counties." He said he wants to hear from officials in the small communities on how their economies are impacted.

Susan Martinovich, deputy director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, agreed to study the feasibility of such a light rail system in eastern Nevada. She cautioned that such a system could run into the billions of dollars.

Nevada's Constitution requires that gasoline taxes and license fees be used on road improvements, not on rapid transit projects. That means most of the money for rapid transit projects would have to come from the federal government.


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