Local transportation officials on Thursday said the Raiders should help pay for a series of road and highway improvements that would accommodate football fans headed to a proposed $1.9 billion domed stadium in Las Vegas.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada briefly discussed the issue two weeks before NFL team owners meet March 26-29 to potentially decide whether the Raiders should be allowed to move from Oakland to a new 65,000-seat venue in Las Vegas.
A series of upgrades was listed in a transportation report released in October recommending that the Nevada Department of Transportation build at least $899 million in freeway projects that were previously planned to handle heavy traffic headed in and out of the stadium.
At the time, NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said some freeway projects planned for Clark County might be delayed in order to accelerate the proposed improvements surrounding two potential stadium sites.
Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, an RTC board member and vocal critic of the stadium, said that she also wanted NDOT to determine which local highway projects might be delayed.
“If the stadium comes — and I’m still hopeful it doesn’t — but if it comes, we should not as local governments be obligated, nor should you be obligated, to have to pay for those infrastructure projects,” Giunchigliani told Malfabon. “The business or company that’s impacting us should be the ones that pay.”
Within the $1.9 billion stadium construction budget, the Raiders have said that $375 million would be set aside for land, infrastructure and siting. It was unclear, however, to the RTC board whether that figure included road improvements.
Malfabon said that environmental studies are underway for a $150 million reconfiguration of the Tropicana Avenue interchange at Interstate 15, along with a separate project that calls for construction of direct-access ramps that would connect a new carpool lane on I-15 to exits at Harmon and Hacienda avenues.
Remodeling could begin as soon as 2020 for the Tropicana Avenue interchange along I-15, but a timeline is not yet determined for the carpool offramps.
NDOT officials have said that the county’s fuel revenue indexing money might possibly be paired with state highway funds to pay for the projects.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman suggested NDOT should also seek federal grants.
Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown, who serves as the RTC board’s chairman, said that NDOT, the RTC and the county should take a closer look at who is responsible for building the highway improvements.
“Whatever site is decided upon … there should be a clear understanding what costs will be incurred by the development and what costs would be incurred by NDOT or the county,” Brown said.