Nevada Governor, Legislators Battling Over Highway Funding

Nevada's governor, Jim Gibbons, called May 10 for dedicating part of the state's hotel, vehicle sales, and live entertainment taxes to fund needed roads. Las Vegas' hotel and convention interests are generally opposed, however, and the Nevada Legislature hasn't warmed to the idea. The legislature's 74th Regular Session is scheduled to end June 4; congestion and a highway funding shortfall have been hot topics there.

Gibbons said he rejects new taxes and believes tourism is partly responsible for traffic congestion and thus should shoulder much of the financial load to solve it. "It does no good to bring more visitors here if they have a bad experience because our transportation system can't accommodate them," Gibbons said in May 11 speech following up his announcement. "Growth must pay for growth. Not only do tourists deserve a pleasant visit, but Nevadans deserve safe and convenient trips to work, to the grocery store and to drive their children to school. Not everyone will like this plan, but I believe it is fair and it will work. Through the use of bonds, my proposal is projected to raise about $2.5 billion for statewide road projects over the next eight years."

"I believe it is the right thing for Nevadans, because it takes a giant step toward solving our transportation problems…without raising taxes. I remain committed to providing essential state services, while holding the line on taxes."

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