Posts Tagged ‘Boulder City bypass’

Politicking Legislators Threatened To Delay, Kill Bills On Deadline Day

By Andrew Doughman | 8:34 pm May 20th, 2011

CARSON CITY – In the end, it was Sen. Joe Hardy who saved the day. He also saved one of his pet bills in the process.

The Republican doctor from Boulder City patched up a broken legislative process that threatened to kill bills after ideological disagreements between two Democratic committee leaders had resulted in an impasse.

Today is a deadline day for bills to pass, so if the two Democrats did not reach an agreement, the bills would die.

A dispute between the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Government Affairs endangered a number of bills dear to the hearts of lawmakers in both houses.

Caught up in the standoff were Hardy’s bill establishing toll roads in Boulder City, a bill revising state contracting in an attempt to mitigate abuse and a bill revising the open meeting law, among others.

“This committee made the boycott,” said Sen. John Lee, D-North Vegas, chairman of the Senate Government Affairs Committee. “I’m determined to see that the rights of the Senate are not abused by the Assembly … We’re not enemies, but it’s not just about me and her now.”

Lee was referring to his Democratic counterpart in the Assembly, Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.

At this point in the legislative session, bills have swapped houses so Lee’s committee was considering Assembly bills and the fate of Senate bills were in the hands of the Assembly.

This morning, Lee said he was concerned Kirkpatrick would not vote Senate bills out of her Assembly committee.

Kirkpatrick said her committee would vote on bills that are likely to pass.

“I don’t play the hostage game,” she said. “We hear them [the bills] and the committee decides.”

The standoff resulted in a day-long delay before Hardy convened the two lawmakers and struck a deal behind closed doors.

In the meantime, lobbyists from local governments – government affairs committees usually address bills affecting cities and counties – waited to hear the fate of bills they were tracking.

“It’s hectic but with so many people playing politics, I don’t remember it being this bad,” said Carole Vilardo of the Nevada Taxpayer Association.

In the end, Lee heard the Assembly bills and Kirkpatrick passed Hardy’s toll roads bill out of her committee. Before the deal was struck, Hardy had declared that bill dead.

“Joe Hardy put both teams back together,” Lee said. “Joe Hardy saved the day.”

With so much action on a deadline day, legislators are under pressure to ensure their bills pass. Sometimes that means they have personal disagreements with the legislators in whose hands the fate of their bills rests.

It happens every legislative session, said one lobbyist.

“The Legislature is like labor pains,” said Susan Fisher, a lobbyist representing several clients. “We forget and then we come back and do it all over again.”

At the end of the day, several Senate bills did not meet the deadline and the Senate voted down the open meeting law bill.

But the proposal to revise state contracting rules passed.

Hardy praised Lee and Kirkpatrick for negotiating with “grace and aplomb.”

“They are both to be commended for being able to get together after having had feelings that were so tender come to the surface,” he said. “People were depending and counting on us.”

 

State Lawmaker Proposes Privately Funded Toll Road For Boulder City Bypass

By Sean Whaley | 2:19 pm March 2nd, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada state Sen. Joe Hardy today introduced a bill to require the transportation department to develop a privately-financed toll road as a bypass around Boulder City.

Senate Bill 214 would require NDOT to establish a demonstration project for the toll road, providing for a public-private partnership to design, construct, finance and operate the 14-mile bypass around the community to the new bridge over the Colorado River.

With the opening of the new bridge late last year, traffic through Boulder City has become far worse, making a toll road bypass project all the more attractive, Hardy said.

Sen. Joe Hardy/Photo: Cathleen Allison/NevadaPhotoSource.com

“It’s just a total increase in traffic,” he said.

The issue of traffic through Boulder City with the new bridge was discussed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Washington during Sandoval’s recent visit.

Hardy, R-Boulder City, said toll roads were commonly used in Nevada back in the 19th century, so, “it is not a new concept.”

“So how do we get roads on the ground in Nevada is the same discussion we had 100 years ago,” Hardy said. “And we have to get private money, because we don’t have any.”

The project would create jobs in Southern Nevada and improve the traffic flow for what could ultimately become a segment of a new Interstate 11 between Las Vegas and Phoenix, he said.

There would still be an alternate free route through Boulder City, and it would not take an existing road and convert it into a toll road, Hardy said.

“So there are objections that people have that we can probably resolve,” he said.

Boulder City already owns the right-of-way, so the project could get under way once a planning process was completed, Hardy said.

“So we need the right people who have money to come in and put some pavement down on the ground and put our people to work,” he said. “We’re ready.”

Hardy’s bill would require the prevailing wage to be paid on the road project.

He did not know what the cost of the toll would be, but suggested it would be less than $10.

Efforts to authorize toll roads in Nevada have failed in past legislative sessions. Two such measures failed to win approval in 2009.

A government funded bypass around Boulder City is a project on the Nevada Department of Transportation’s list of state highway projects.

NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said there is no funding yet for Phase 2 of the bypass, which is the roadway around Boulder City. The agency continues to seek the $300 million in funding and move forward with design, he said.

Traffic counts show that on average, about 15,000 vehicles travel through Boulder City now on U.S. Hwy. 93, Magruder said.Audio clips:

Sen. Joe Hardy says toll roads are not a new concept:

030211Hardy1 :11 100 years ago.”

Hardy says Nevada needs private money to build the bypass:

030211Hardy2          :22 Nevada from Arizona.”