It’s starting to sink in to state, county and city leaders that winning an NFL franchise represents an unprecedented challenge for Southern Nevada.
The celebratory hangover has started to wear off; it’s time to get to work and tackle the issues. It’s also time to look at opportunities that could make this the best thing to happen to the city since air conditioning.
Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown first noted that it would be important for decision-makers to conduct public forums to coordinate infrastructure for a 65,000-seat stadium near one of the nation’s busiest tourism corridors.
Who should be a part of that? Obviously, Clark County. Brown not only serves on the commission but also chairs the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, which works with mass transit and the Nevada Department of Transportation.
He’s also on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board of directors, which has a vested interest in the stadium as a site for special events.
County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak has been a supporter of the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas and served on the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee that delivered the stadium financing proposal. Sisolak is well-connected with Raiders leadership as well as Infrastructure Committee Chairman Steve Hill, who chairs the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.
As the state’s director of economic development, Hill has a pipeline to Nevada Department of Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon, who has said transportation leaders would look at changing the scheduling of Interstate 15 projects that could affect stadium access. A redesign of the Tropicana Avenue interchange at I-15, north of the likely stadium site, is such a project.
Brown and Malfabon work directly with the Regional Transportation Commission, led by general manager Tina Quigley, who also serves on the state’s High Speed Rail Authority. That authority has a franchise with XpressWest, which for years has studied building rail connecting Las Vegas with Southern California, a key Raiders market.
Isn’t now the right time to get XpressWest on track? The company recently released a favorable ridership study, and Forbes reported that Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin recently met with President Donald Trump to press moving ahead on public-private partnerships to fund infrastructure projects, including high-speed rail.
Clark County has a franchise with the Las Vegas Monorail Co., which is looking to extend its line south to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center right across I-15 from the presumed stadium site. Could the line be extended another 1,000 feet to the stadium?
Brown’s idea about airing transportation and stadium issues in public forums is good, but more coordination is needed.
It makes sense for all shareholders — the county, the RTC, the Stadium Authority, the LVCVA, NDOT, the Las Vegas Monorail, XpressWest and the Raiders — to meet publicly and work out details. It might take Gov. Brian Sandoval signing an order to merge those entities, the way the Infrastructure Committee was formed.
Check your egos and interests at the door. Roll up your sleeves. Discuss, compromise and deliver.
The stadium is one of the most important tourism-centered projects ever undertaken in Southern Nevada.
We need to get it right. And we need to get it done.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.