Sandoval: Transportation department has done too little to prevent deaths at Reno crosswalk

Associated Press

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he's sick to his stomach with Nevada's transportation authority for not doing enough to prevent pedestrian deaths.

The Republican governor told the state Department of Transportation board on Monday that delays in constructing a traffic light at a deadly Reno crosswalk had cost too many lives.

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"I can't even articulate how sick to my stomach I am that this has happened and that it has taken 15 years to get something done," Sandoval said, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal (http://on.rgj.com/1z1StzK ).

"I want to get to the bottom of this ... because it can't happen again," he said. "We can't have people be killed like this for no good reason. None. We could've had a light in there years ago. I don't understand why this department didn't respond."

The board voted unanimously to install a light at the intersection and also voted to spend $10 million on pedestrian safety programs statewide.

The newspaper found that 12 pedestrians have been fatally struck near a North Virginia Street crosswalk near McCarran Boulevard and Panther Drive over the past 15 years, and the state transportation authority often would take years to implement recommended safety changes.

Board members said infighting among local, state and federal government agencies was the main reason behind the delays.

"Someone is always looking to blame someone else for why something can't happen," board member Tom Skancke said. "At the local level, they blame NDOT. Then NDOT blames the Federal Highway Administration. At the Federal Highway Administration, they go back to the local government. It's a circle of horrible communication."

The problem is that no one wants to make the decision, Skancke added.

"At the end of the day, someone just needs to say, 'Let's do it.' That's what this board has to do," he said.

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com