With the Nevada DOT deal, there are no trade-backs. There in lies the problem.
The agency offered counties and municipalities 903 miles of state-owned and maintained roads in exchange for roads under local control. Deputy Transportation Director Scott Rawlins reported on Jan. 9 that there has been no interest in the deal, primarily because it could cost up to $15 million to keep the routes in decent shape. Those at the local level simply do not have that kind of money.
The DOTs strategy over the last couple of decades has been confusing. The state manages what many consider are local roads—Tropicana to Sahara from I-15 east to Boulder Highway and Flamingo from Rainbow Boulevard to I-15 and from Paradise Road to Boulder Highway—and there also are some rural routes sprinkled in.
However, the state does not own all the roads it is supposed to, either. Because Nevada did not have enough money to build the Las Vegas Beltway, those at the local level became part owners when voter-approved bond issues came to the rescue.
State legislators could intervene and pass a law ordering the transfer of roads back to cities and counties, but it most likely would be challenged.