Nevada transportation board discusses impact of fuel tax

CARSON CITY— The good news is gas taxes in Clark County will be 17 cents a gallon cheaper than in Washoe County.

But the bad news is gas taxes in Clark County will increase about 3.5 cents a gallon per year for the next three years as result of the fuel indexing law that goes into effect in January.

That was the word Wednesday from state Transportation Department Director Rudy Malfabon during a meeting of the state transportation board.

He noted that gas taxes in Clark and most other counties are 52.176 cents a gallon. But, as a result of legislation approved in June and then authorized in September by Clark County commissioners, taxes will increase by 3.25 cents a gallon in January and by a slightly higher rate in 2015 and 2016.

Commissioners approved the fuel tax index, which allows the county to make annual increases based on inflation, generally between 5 percent and 6 percent.

That means county residents in January will pay 55.546 cents a gallon in gas taxes. But in Washoe County, which began fuel tax indexing several years ago, the tax rate will be 72.31 cents a gallon.

While that seems like a noticeable difference, Malfabon said there looks to be little variation in gas prices charged in Washoe, compared with surrounding counties. He said “market competition” keeps rates down in Washoe County.

The money raised will be given to the Regional Transportation Commission in Clark County, which intends to use it to float up to $700 million in bonds for highway projects. Malfabon noted that those projects include work on the Boulder City bypass and the Las Vegas Beltway.

During the meeting, the board’s chairman, Gov. Brian Sandoval, also secured approval from the Department of Transportation for him and other Transportation Board members to decide the route in Nevada of the future Interstate 11 freeway that would run from the Mexican border to Canada.

The Transportation Department recently released its tentative proposed route that largely would use the existing U.S. Highway 95. Additional hearing are planned before a final decision is made.

Sandoval called the route decision “extremely important to the future of Nevada.”

During the meeting, Malfabon also noted two contract road construction workers died Nov. 5 on Interstate 80 outside of Battle Mountain when a driver crashed into the orange barrels surrounding the construction site. Vicki Stenovich, 53, died at the scene, while Arthur Lucero, 47, died after being taken to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.

Malfabon said the deaths highlight the dangers of such work and pleaded with drivers to show more care.

Candace Gittins, the 69-year-old driver of the vehicle that killed the two workers and injured two others has not yet been charged. Chuck Allen, a Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman, said an investigation is ongoing.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.

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