Posts Tagged ‘Susan Martinovich’

Gov. Brian Sandoval Dedicates Road Project Linking Capital To Interstate Freeway System

By Sean Whaley | 1:37 pm August 2nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval and a host of elected officials and dignitaries joined in dedicating the new I-580 freeway connecting the capital to Reno today, although motorists won’t get to drive on the 8.4-mile stretch of new roadway until mid-August.

The final piece of freeway linking the two communities cost about $575 million when all costs, including right-of-way acquisition, are counted, and was begun nearly nine years ago during the term of the late-Gov. Kenny Guinn. Ninety percent of the project cost was paid for with federal funds. Planning for the stretch of freeway dates back several decades.

Sandoval and daughter Marisa were passengers in a 1913 Pierce Arrow from Harrah’s Auto Collection for a short drive on a portion of the project.

Gov. Sandoval waves from a 1913 Pierce Arrow at the I-580 freeway dedication today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Sandoval said Guinn and the late-Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, were instrumental in getting the project funded and into the construction stage. The two men were represented by their spouses, Dema Guinn and Dale Raggio, at the ceremony.

“This is a very important component on our state’s goal to become the No. 1 business area in the United States of America,” Sandoval said. “And so this is going to be a true, true asset in terms of moving products, moving people between Carson City and Reno and throughout Northern Nevada.”

It will also save lives by diverting traffic from Highway 395, where collisions have been a frequent occurrence, he said.

“This project is not just a home run, it’s a grand slam,” Sandoval said.

Gov. Sandoval speaks at the dedication. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Susan Martinovich, director of the Department of Transportation, thanked all the people who helped bring the project to completion, including the state Transportation Board and the NDOT workers.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said the freeway link will benefit the Northern Nevada economy.

“This highway and the communicating back and forth is really going to be great for the region and I’m tickled to death that it’s here and that it’s open now,” he said.

Cashell said both Guinn and Raggio deserve credit for the project, because “without them this wouldn’t be here.”

The most impressive part of the project, which was built on the hills to the west of the existing Highway 395, is the 1,722-foot-long Galena Creek Bridge rising 300 feet above the creek below.

The four longest of the nine bridges needed for the freeway segment have automated de-icers imbedded in each bridge deck that will spray a “salt brine solution” (potassium acetate) automatically when the temperature is 32 degrees or below.

But the freeway has come in for some criticism, particularly from Southern Nevada residents who questioned the high cost of the project and why it was made a priority. Southern Nevadans have pointed out on more than one occasion that the transportation needs in urban Las Vegas far outweigh those elsewhere in the state.


Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says the freeway link will help Nevada’s economic development efforts:

080212Sandoval :16 throughout Northern Nevada.”

Nevada Transportation Director Susan Martinovich says the freeway will also improve safety:

080212Martinovich :31 goal for that.”

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell says the freeway will help the region’s economy:

080212Cashell :17 wouldn’t be here.”



Retiring NDOT Director To Be Honored By White House On Tuesday

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:59 am July 30th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The White House tomorrow will honor leaders who have helped their communities through transportation innovation, including retiring NDOT Director Susan Martinovich, as part of the Champions of Change program.

Transportation Innovators are individuals or organizations who have provided exemplary leadership in the growth and expansion of the transportation industry at the local, state or regional level.

Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“Today’s Champions are leaders in developing and implementing innovative transportation initiatives,” said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “They are making a difference every day in their local communities and across the country by improving America’s transportation infrastructure and helping their friends and neighbors get where they need to go.”

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

The event can be watched live Tuesday at 8 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time at

Martinovich, who has been with the Nevada Department of Transportation for more than 28 years, is retiring in September after five years as director. Martinovich has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno and is a licensed professional engineer in Nevada and California.

She is past president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and serves on the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board Executive Committee, as well as many other national committees in the areas of Safety, Research and Policy Initiatives.

The state Board of Transportation last week selected Rudy Malfabon, a 24-year veteran of the agency, as the new director.


Nevada 10th Most Dangerous State For Driving, Study Shows

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 11:09 am June 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – It probably comes as no surprise to many Nevada motorists that the state is ranked in the Top 10 as one of the most dangerous in which to drive.

Nevada rounded out the top 10 states for dangerous driving with 1.56 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven, according to the report by

The online company, which recently reported on the top 10 most dangerous states to drive in, noted that the large volume of tourism in the state, particularly in Las Vegas, was a factor in the state’s high ranking.

Photo by Ragesoss via Wikimedia Commons.

Las Vegas saw nearly 39 million visitors in 2011, according to data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Tops was Montana at 2.12 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven. Massachusetts had the fewest fatalities.

The data came from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which looks at fatalities and accidents on the roads and issues the state-by-state a report card.

The vast majority of states actually saw a drop in fatalities, with even the worst offenders seeing at least a tiny drop. According to The U.S. Census Bureau report of traffic fatalities by state, there has been a noticeable decrease in deaths per 100 million miles driven from 1990 to 2009.

The NHTSA reported in May that traffic fatalities on U.S. roads in 2011 fell to their lowest level since federal safety regulators started counting in 1949. The rate of fatalities per 100 million miles driven in the U.S. last year was 1.09, down from 1.11 in 2010 and down from 1.46 in 2005,  the NHTSA said.

Unfortunately Nevada may move up in the rankings this year. Preliminary numbers reported in April showed that 57 traffic fatalities occurred on Nevada roads in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 11 deaths over the same time last year.

“One death on Nevada roads is absolutely too many, and we are working together to reach zero fatalities,” Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) Director Susan Martinovich said. “Safety stakeholders across the state are implementing strategies to save lives. But, traffic safety ultimately relies on each and every driver.”

Overall, Nevada traffic fatalities dropped to 246 in 2011 after reaching an all-time high of 432 in 2006 when the Nevada Strategic Highway Safety Plan was developed. The plan brings Nevada traffic and safety advocates together to implement strategies for cutting the yearly traffic fatality average in half by 2030, with the ultimate goal of zero traffic deaths on Nevada roads.

Transportation Board Member Questions Selection Process For New Agency Director

By Sean Whaley | 10:59 am April 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A member of the state Transportation Department Board of Directors questioned today the proposed selection process for a new agency director.

Member Tom Fransway questioned whether the construction industry should be involved in the process of selecting the finalists to bring to the board for an appointment to replace Director Susan Martinovich, who is retiring on Sept. 6.

Fransway said the director and governor should pick the finalists.

At that point, the construction industry and others could get involved, he said.

“Because you are leaving with the highest of standing,” Fransway told Martinovich. “You know the job description. You know the ins and outs of the way the department is handled. And I am very comfortable with having you go through the applications, after HR (human resources) looks at them, along with the governor’s office, because this is a cabinet level position.”

Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, is retiring in September. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

But other members of the board, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, supported the selection process and the involvement of the construction industry in picking finalists for the position.

Martinovich said the process outlined to the board at its meeting today is new, and is intended to make the selection transparent for the public.

Two members of the construction industry, one from northern Nevada and another from the south, would be among seven members of a selection committee to review the applicants and recommend at least three finalists to the board. Also involved in the review would be a representative of the Nevada Association of Counties, representatives of the northern and southern Regional Transportation Commission boards, a transportation industry member and a member of the governor’s staff.

Martinovich will also assist in the applicant review in a non-voting capacity.

The review process by the nominating committee will be subject to the state’s Open Meeting Law

Sandoval said he wanted the industry involved because otherwise it would be too much of a closed process if it was just the current director and governor’s office involved in picking the finalists.

“For me it’s important to have their input into the process,” he said. “So I’m trying to broaden it out. It is new. There is no doubt about this. But I appreciate the director’s comments about being open and transparent and having the opportunity to have as much input from the folks that are going to be dealing with the new director on a daily basis.”

The timeline is to accept applications for six weeks beginning April 9. The nominating committee will forward its selections to the board at its June 25 meeting. The candidates will be interviewed in a public meeting on July 23 at which time a new director will be selected.

Board member Frank Martin said having the construction industry involved in the selection is critical, “because they are a very integral part of what that department does every day.”

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, also a board member, asked that it be made clear that having the construction industry involved in the selection process will not create an issue for the new director when contracts are awarded.

There is no way any currying of favor could occur in the process of awarding contracts, she said.

Martinovich agreed, saying the contracts are low bid and they are scrutinized by many officials within the agency before being approved by the director, and if they are over $5 million, by the board.

“So I don’t see an issue with that,” she said.


Audio clips:

Board member Tom Fransway says the director and governor’s office should pick the finalists:

040512Fransway :36 cabinet level position.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he asked that the construction industry be involved:

040512Sandoval :16 a daily basis.”

Board member Frank Martin says having the industry involved is critical:

040512Martin :12 does every day.”


State Transportation Director Terminates $280K Contract After Concerns Raised About Cost

By Sean Whaley | 4:25 pm December 7th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A 22-month, $280,000 contract with a private sector individual to work as a liaison between the Department of Transportation and contractors seeking work with the agency has been terminated by Director Susan Martinovich.

Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Instead, the department will look to its own staff to help in the goal of assisting contractors who want to bid on NDOT projects through the sometimes complex bureaucratic process, said agency spokesman Scott Magruder.

“At this point we have terminated the agreement and will not be bringing this forward to the board meeting next Monday,” he said. “And in order to help facilitate some of the new contractors through the system, we’re looking at maybe using some of the in-house people in our construction and records and management that maybe could help out on this effort.”

The decision to terminate the contract came after Martinovich met today with Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The contract with William “Buzz” Harris to serve as an ombudsman between the agency and bidders on contracts was approved in September by NDOT staff but was put on hold in November after concerns were raised by Sandoval and other members of the NDOT Board of Directors.

The contract was set for further discussion at the NDOT board meeting on Monday, but instead was terminated by Martinovich.

Harris is a former assistant executive director at the Nevada Associated General Contractors and was awarded the contract after a competitive review process.

Magruder said the word ombudsman was a misnomer. The idea was not to resolve complaints but to assist contractors with the process, he said.

“Again we still feel that when a new contractor calls the department, they don’t just get shuffled around,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to have it all in one place that they could go, as we said, a facilitator, that could really help them through the process. Because there’s a lot of, I hate to use the word red tape, but that’s exactly what it is.”

Magruder said the department wants to make the process as friendly and open as possible. The more contractors bidding on a project, the better the price for the taxpayer, he said.

Sandoval said at the November meeting that the potential contract cost is well in excess of what even he earns as governor.

The $280,000 was the maximum of the contract based on a $100 hourly rate that would have covered Harris’ expenses as well.


Audio clips:

NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder says the contract has been terminated:

120711Magruder1 :07 meeting next Monday.”

Magruder says the agency will try to use in-house staff to assist contractors:

120711Magruder2 :13 on this effort.”

Magruder says NDOT wants to make it easy for contractors to deal with the agency:

120711Magruder3 :19 what it is.”



State Agrees To Pay $25 Million For Seven Acres Needed For Las Vegas Road Project

By Sean Whaley | 4:55 pm November 8th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A state panel today agreed to pay $25 million to settle an eminent domain lawsuit over seven acres of land in the path of a state Department of Transportation road improvement project in Las Vegas.

The Board of Examiners approved the settlement with Wall Street Nevada LLC to allow Project Neon, a $1.2 billion improvement plan for Interstate 15 from Sahara Avenue to the Spaghetti Bowl, to proceed.

Susan Martinovich, director of the Department of Transportation, said the project will be done in phases because of the cost. Depending on funding, the project could take until 2030 to complete.

The property near Charleston Boulevard was purchased by the company in 2006 for $21.4 million, said Mike Chapman, an attorney in private practice working on the case on behalf of the state. The property owners had sought as much as $35 million, he said.

Attorney Mike Chapman discusses the $25 million settlement at the Board of Examiners today. / Nevada News Bureau.

“If we reach this settlement, does that buy eternal peace in terms of litigation associated with this piece of property?” asked Gov. Brian Sandoval, a member of the board. “Do we have certainty, now, with regard to that property?”

Chapman said every effort has been made to build closure into the settlement agreement, including a full release from the Wall Street owners.

The city of Las Vegas is expected to participate in the settlement, but the amount is not yet known, he said.

Sandoval and Secretary of Ross Miller voted to approve the settlement.

“This is the best settlement that we could negotiate at the time, and weighing all of the risks with the benefits we think it does tilt in favor of recommending a settlement,” Chapman said in response to a question from Miller. “And so that is why we have presented it to the client, this board, and also the folks at NDOT, for their consideration.”


Audio clip:

Attorney Mike Chapman says the $25 million settlement is the best that could be negotiated:

110811Chapman :22 for their consideration.”