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Constitutional Amendment Would Shift Some Gas Tax Revenue to Transit Spending in Nevada

Democratic legislators in Nevada are considering a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to use gas tax revenues for transportation projects other than road construction, maintenance, and repair.
September 20, 2020, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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According to an article by Riley Snyder, Nevada elected officials are considering a drastic change of transportation funding policy.

[B]etween desires to limit urban sprawl and address root causes of climate change, Nevada lawmakers are considering moving forward with a proposed constitutional amendment that would open up use of gas taxes and other automobile-related fees to more than just road construction and repair.

The amendment would allow gas taxes to be spent on a broader category of "transportation infrastructure. Gas tax revenues are currently limited for "construction, maintenance, and repair" of the state's public highways.

The Interim Legislative Committee on Energy has already voted to move forward with the amendment, reports Riley, although without Republican support. 

The proposed constitutional change faces several political hurdles, including opposition to the idea from labor unions and construction associations, which believe that road construction and maintenance funds are already in scant supply in the state. But the discussion about transportation spending fits into larger discussions in the state about how to approach the challenges presented by climate change and population growth:

Urban transit funding and development have become increasingly prominent and pressing issues for state leaders in recent years, given expected population growth over the next decade and attempts by lawmakers and Gov. Steve Sisolak to reduce Nevada’s share of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Planetizen correspondent Irvin Dawid wrote in August 2019 about Nevada's participation in the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium, which could also pave the way for a drastic change in transportation funding policy by using vehicle miles traveled as the taxing mechanism for drivers.

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