The Interim Finance Committee approved Tuesday what lawmakers hope is the final payment to complete the 800 megahertz radio system used by the highway patrol and Nevada Department of Transportation.
Deputy NDOT Director for Administration Robert Chisel said the $842,350 will pay for construction of the final three rural mountaintop radio relay sites to provide 95 percent radio coverage for troopers statewide.
He told the committee a total of eight mountain sites will be completed by the end of September.
"That leaves three we do not have the money to complete," he said. "That's what I need the $842,000 for."
He said the plan is to complete those sites by next summer.
The radio system has been under construction for three years now. The goal is to provide one statewide public safety radio system linked by a computer system that can allow any trooper to contact practically any other trooper no matter where they are in the state.
The Reno-Carson City and Las Vegas areas are already operating on the 800 MHz system, but acting NHP Col. Chris Perry said troopers in rural Nevada have both that system and the old VHF radios in their cars because of gaps in coverage that leave them without radio contact in some places.
The key to providing coverage in those areas is the 11 mountaintop radio transmitters.
The Department of Information Technology was originally supposed to develop those sites but has gotten little done to complete them.
Chisel told lawmakers Washoe County has completed one leased site and NDOT another. He said NDOT is now building three sites in addition and will take responsibility for completing three more by September.
That leaves the three which will be paid for by the money approved Tuesday.
After the physical mountaintop sites are finished, Chisel said it takes about a month to install the radio equipment and get the sites online.
Chisel warned lawmakers, however, this won't be the end of requests for the radio system. He said that as the state population grows, the needs of public safety will make it necessary to add equipment and radio channels as well as to construct more mountaintop sites.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.