Qualified cars can soon park free in county-owned areas

Drivers of alternative fuel vehicles soon will be allowed to park free in Clark County-owned parking facilities.

The County Commission on Tuesday approved the new program, which will charge a $10 annual fee for a window decal that allows free parking for qualified vehicles at the Lewis Professional Building Parking Garage and the Regional Justice Center metered lot.

Qualified vehicles include plug-in vehicles that are powered by an electric motor and vehicles that are powered by an alternative fuel and meet specified federal emissions standards.

The program brings the county into compliance with a state law passed at this year's legislative session, but the law excludes parking areas of an airport.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani asked county staffers to investigate whether that exclusion prohibited the county from including parking areas at McCarran International Airport, which could put more money in the county coffer.

"This encourages folks to use more alternatives, " Giunchigliani said.

The commissioner, who favors including the county-run airport in the ordinance, also suggested implementing a "time-share" program in which the government buys a handful of smart cars or electric cars to be used by several drivers who swipe a card to run errands. Giunchigliani named cities such as Seattle and Denver, which she said use similar public and private programs for bikes and cars that could encourage carpooling.

"They could leave it parked in that setting, it's always tracked, and people wouldn't have to purchase an automobile," Giunchigliani said.

Commissioner Mary Beth Scow asked whether there were enough parking officers to handle the change. Assistant County Manager Randy Tarr, who deals with Real Property Management, the entity responsible for tickets and collection from meters, said the county has the resources needed.

Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.