Reno/Sparks Want Bigger Share of Gas Taxes

By  | 

Reno and Sparks want a bigger share of fuel taxes and have agreed to take their request at the Nevada Legislature while seeking a compromise with Washoe County.

Both city councils endorsed the proposal Wednesday, saying the current gas tax distribution formula doesn't account for such factors as greatest need and population concentrations.

Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey said 65 percent of Washoe County traffic is in the cities, but residents in unincorporated areas get much more money per capita from gas taxes.

Sparks Councilman John Mayer said nearly 75 percent of Washoe County residents live in the cities, but the county hasn't spent any money on municipal road projects in the last four years.

"I really feel that it's too bad that they don't open their eyes and do what's right," Mayer said.

Washoe County commissioners oppose any change to the distribution formula, spokeswoman Kathy Carter said.

Carter said while the majority of residents live in cities, there are more residents in unincorporated Washoe County than there are in Sparks.

She said the county also maintains more roads than either city.

"We are not willing to re-negotiate the fuel tax formula at the local level," Carter said.

The cities want to change the formula that distributes a 2.35-cents per gallon tax among the cities and the county. The levy currently is distributed using a four-tiered formula that includes vehicle miles traveled and land area.

The cities want to have the taxes distributed based only on population and the miles of road within the government jurisdiction, with greater weight being give to the population factor.