OK, enough talk, make a decision

It’s time to settle the question of the Tahoe-Pyramid Link. Yes, it’s a contentious issue, and no matter what the decision, there are people who are not going to like the results.

On one hand, Hidden Valley homeowners have been fighting the development of this freeway since the idea was first proposed back in the ‘80s. Yes, the most direct and inexpensive route for the majority of taxpayers would be near Hidden Valley. Still, nobody would question their right to battle a development that will likely decrease their quality of life and damage their property values. There are some powerful, long-time Nevada families in the area, who have contributed to the community and many political campaigns over the years. There can also be little doubt that it’s that community’s obstructionism that has put the entire Reno-Sparks metropolis into this state of crisis over the building of a road that should have been completed a decade ago.

Another suggested route would, in part, go through Storey County. Storey Country residents seem committed to defeating the idea, saying the road will go through the least developed part of the county, an area the county has worked to preserve in its natural state. It seems certain that Storey County will be able to prevent the building of the road for at least as long as Hidden Valley residents have been able to fend it off. They’ve already fought it for almost a decade.

The Regional Transportation Commission has not proposed any routes that won’t piss off somebody. There’s a clear reason for this: There aren’t any.

So, what’s to be done? The RTC must reach a decision.

At its meeting last week, the Regional Transportation Commission once again delayed a decision. That was wrong. Yes, it’s hard for a group like the Commission to look in the faces of angry citizens and say, “You are the ones who must sacrifice so the larger community will benefit.” Nobody is going to say it’s easy, but the decision based on the needs of the many must be made.

So how can such a decision be arrived at? It’s a formula: First, subtract the complaints of those who moved into the area knowing the link highway was on the books. That would be anyone who moved into Rosewood Lakes in the last 25 years.

Next, minimize negative direct impacts to families; in other words, tear down as few homes as possible.

Factor in the idea that we’re all going to feel the impact of the financial costs of building the highway, so factor in the expenses. For a catalyst, add in the fact that we’ve all got to breathe the air and deal with the quality of life impacts caused by having too many vehicles taking too-indirect routes.

Lastly, it must be considered that the community has changed to the extent that this highway is no longer workable—if it was even a good idea when first conceived—and it perhaps shouldn’t be built. Maybe growth should have been restricted rather than enabled.

This is a tough decision, and nobody envies the elected officials who’ll have to face the music—no matter which direction they go. Nobody said election to public office was all ribbon cuttings, back-pattings and accolades. Sometimes, though, the entire community needs to move forward.