CARSON CITY — Assembly Transportation Committee members expressed incredulity Tuesday that implementing a bill to allow drivers to make contributions to reduce the state’s $3.8 billion highway construction debt would cost $51,000 in computer programming fees.
Transportation Chairman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, requested the Department of Motor Vehicles give the committee more specific details on how it came up with that price for what seemingly is a simple proposal.
Dennis Colling, chief of administration services for the DMV, told the committee that implementing Sen. Bob Beers’ Senate Bill 180 would cost his agency 385 hours of computer programming time, or $51,000.
“No wonder we are broke,” responded Assemblyman John Carpenter, R-Elko.
“We can build roads in 385 hours,” added Assemblyman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas.
Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, noted that for a “few hundred dollars” one can acquire a software program to run a complete office.
Under the bill, vehicle owners would have the option of making a donation to the state highway fund when they pay registration fees on their vehicles.
Colling said there are similar donation options in state laws. He said $33 was donated last year for veterans programs, while $16,000 was donated for organ donor programs.
“I have no idea how much would be raised for donations (for highway construction),” he added.
Since the state already offers drivers a way to make donations for two other programs, Goedhart said maybe the Legislature should audit the DMV to see how computer programming funds are spent.
“Something tells me the DMV knows exactly how many hours it took to establish those two programs,” Atkinson added.
But Colling said he did not know how the DMV developed the fiscal note that the bill would take 385 hours of computer programming time.
Atkinson told him to find that information so the committee can act on the bill.
Beers, one of the Legislature’s most conservative members, expressed thanks to the committee for questioning the DMV’s figures.
“I spent 15 yeas programming accounting systems for a living,” said Beers, R-Las Vegas. “I’m impressed how you dug in harder.”
The bill passed the Senate on a 20-1 vote April 24.2007 Nevada Legislature