Richard Velotta: New columnist maps out Road Warrior’s future


The key’s in the ignition and I’m ready to put it in drive.

It’s a daunting task to move into the fast lane with the likes of the columnists that have taken the title of Road Warrior in the past.

They’ve informed the residents of Southern Nevada about what’s happening on the highways and byways of this little entertainment capital we call home.

A little about me and my background: I’m a third-generation transportation industry professional (if you consider writing about it being part of the industry). My grandfather worked for the railroad; my mother had a career at United Airlines; other members of my family work for other big airlines and often share with me the good, the bad and the ugly of the business.

I’ve lived in Southern Nevada for 22 years and formerly wrote about tourism and transportation at the Las Vegas Sun and its affiliated publications.

I’m into planes, trains and automobiles. Boats, too.

I’ve traveled the world and seen all kinds of transportation systems, some good, some bad, most better than anything we have here at home. That’s why so many people are saying it’s time to get moving on something new so that we can catch up with everybody else.

My ambition will be to take the observations of the Road Warrior to the next level. It isn’t just going to be about orange cones and detours. It’s more about raising our collective ability to get around, sometimes out of town, on just about anything that moves.

And, while keeping readers informed about what’s happening on local streets will continue, this column also is going to be about finding our way on buses, airliners, trains — if we ever get one — bikes, the monorail and our own two feet.

Your inquiries, as in the past, are welcome by emailing me at roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com and you can follow @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.

One other thing — we’re all Road Warriors so we’ll share transportation strategies with each other, ask and answer questions on everything from weird traffic laws that affect us every day to how to get through the Transportation Security Administration’s lines at McCarran International Airport at maximum speed with minimal embarrassment.

We’ll beat up on taxi long-haulers and figure out what’s in store with this big multimodal transportation center the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is cooking up at the convention center.

We’ll continue to love all the airlines that feed our resorts while hating all their aggravating fees.

The 2 million or so of us that share the boulevards with the 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas every year need game plans for getting around without getting in each other’s way. So we’ll need to remind each other about staying clear of the city’s big special events to avoid getting sucked into every traffic vortex.

Which reminds me — be aware that tens of thousands of NASCAR fans will be out on northbound Interstate 15 this morning and southbound I-15 this afternoon, hopefully not trading paint as they make their way to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for today’s Kobalt 400 race.

I’ve been labeled as a monorail apologist because I tell people the system we have in place isn’t very good because it isn’t done yet. Besides, the monorail was flawed from Day One because the community’s power brokers at the time wouldn’t allow it to be built where it made the most sense.

I believe in maglev technology and see high-speed rail as a compromise. I’d buy a ticket on Elon Musk’s hyperloop if he ever gets it built.

If I could ever afford it, I’d go to space on Richard Branson’s spaceship or even with World View Experience, the company that recently set up shop in downtown Las Vegas and soon will begin offering trips to the stratosphere in capsules lifted by helium balloons.

I believe Rascal Flatts when they tell me “Life Is a Highway,” and I want to ride it all night long.

Buckle up, fellow Road Warriors.

And if you’re driving, don’t text the rest of us.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, send an email to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter @RJroadwarrior.