KayLynn Roberts-McMurraym photo
State Assemblyman John Ellison attended the White Pine County Commission meeting this week to discuss state items that impact the county.

The Ely Times

Assemblyman John Ellison attended the White Pine County Commission meeting this week to update the commission on some items he noticed going on in White Pine County, and also to make the commission aware of the amount of bills that will be addressed at the upcoming legislative session.

“I would like see if the commission could draft a letter… the traffic is moving so fast between Preston and Lund it’s become dangerous,” Ellison said.  “Every time I go down there you can see the skid marks up and down the highway.”

Ellison went on to explain that he met with NDOT recently to discuss either get passing lanes by Lane’s Truck Stop or reduce the speed limit.

“When I stopped and talked to one of the ladies at the motel, I could see a semi barely miss a vehicle trying to turn in,” he said.

Ellison asked the commission to consider drafting a letter so NDOT could consider either getting a turnout or some other option.

He also mentioned that State Senator Pete Goichochea and him were going to hand deliver the letter to NDOT, and meet with them, and discuss some of these items as emergency situations.

“It keeps getting put on the backburner, and there’s only so much money, and there’s only so much NDOT can do, and I think we need to address these concerns, it’s getting worse by the day,” Ellison said.

The discussion went on to talk about how there are currently four high-speed passing lanes between Ely and Wells, “and you have none between here and Las Vegas,” Commissioner Chairman Richard Howe said.

Ellison said, “It’s serious that we address this.”

Commissioner Steve Stork suggested Ellison take a look at the history of accidents between McGill and Wells, prior to the passing lanes, and the widening of the shoulders and see what’s happened since.

The other item that Ellison wanted to update the commission on was a bill Ellison said, “I’ve been working on a bill for the last four sessions, and I got it in, in the last session, we got it through the committee,  and assembly passed, and then they killed it, for actually no reason, and that was to get a study on our NDOT and Highway Patrol.”

Ellison explained how taxpayers are paying to get these people trained, and on the road, and soon as their trained, they get their CDL or get them through POST, their gone to the mine or on to Las Vegas, and it’s costing the state millions of dollars a year.

“If we are going to keep these guys, it’s an investment to our community,” he said. “I’ve put the study back on again.  I think we need to address these issued, and their not being addressed now.  The taxpayer shouldn’t be taking a hit.”

Another issue brought up was the number of water bills for the upcoming legislative session.

“A lot of water bills out there, last session had 20 water bills.,” he said. “Water is going to be a big one this year.”

Commissioner Gary Perea expressed concerns about the water bills. “My concern is basically under the current water law, they’ve over appropriated the  basins, and if we give them additional laws to change it that just allows them to misappropriate our basins.

“I know every time Southern Nevada and I get into a disagreement, they keep calling for more water, but yet they do’nt want to put moratoriums on it … And they say those swimming pools don’t use much water, fly over vegas and tell me how many swimming pools you see.  We have to do some changes.”

Howe expressed concern regarding the funding for the jail and courthouse.

“We’re getting ready to build that, it should be priority one for WP county and this years legislation,” he said. “We need to get there and get heard and get this extra appropriation of the 6-10 million for this courthouse.”

Howe went on to explain to Ellison that was one of the reasons he asked him to White Pine.

“We got the bad end of the deal in front of the ways and means committee last session,” he said. “We were called the night before to come to Carson, we spent 15 minutes, and they told us no.”

Ellison noted that anything he can do, he would keep trying to get the funding.

Perea thanked Ellison for all of his efforts. “Thank you for your support you’ve been a real friend to White Pine County,” he said. “We appreciate what you have done for us, we have struggled trying to convince Las Vegas that we are a part of the state.”