Sales tax is bargain to get the V&T rolling

The Nevada Appeal has been covering - and, for the most part, supporting - the Virginia & Truckee Railroad for 140 years. We're not about to stop now.

On Thursday, Carson City supervisors will conduct a public hearing on a crucial step in the restoration of the V&T.; An eighth-cent sales tax would be imposed to allow the railway to bond for $26 million over the next 20 years.

This is the money which will, finally, recreate the historic rail line from Carson City to Gold Hill, where it connects with the existing line to Virginia City.

Carson City residents had a chance in 1994 to approve a quarter-cent sales tax. It was voted down 7,965 to 7,869

Some are now pointing to that election as a reason to vote on the eighth-cent proposal. But a referendum is not technically necessary, nor is it politically necessary.

The value of the V&T; restoration project to Carson City's future and past is beyond reproach. Had it been in place the past 10 years, there would be no need to speculate. The eighth-cent tax is a bargain, to be paid by residents and visitors alike.

The V&T; restoration is about preservation - of an enterprise unique in the history of the United States, of an Old West character that links Carson City and Virginia City with their national identity, and of a commodity that must be nurtured in order to retain its worth.

That commodity is tourism. Carson City has enough historical high points - the Mint, the Capitol, the West Side homes - to give visitors a reason to stop on their way between Reno and Lake Tahoe. But the V&T; makes Carson City a destination, and not just for train buffs.

We urge supporters of the V&T; to tell the supervisors in their own words why an eighth-cent sales tax is a good investment for the community. The supervisors, in turn, must approve the tax and get the V&T; rolling again.


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