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Panel to consider transportation modes to connect airport, Strip

A three-member panel could soon examine whether an elevated expressway, a light rail system or the Las Vegas Monorail should connect McCarran International Airport to the Strip.

Perhaps, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said, there may be room to combine all three options. He called for convening the panel consisting of representatives from the county, the Nevada Resort Association and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

“I think they’re all three options that need to be evaluated, they need to be analyzed individually, and take input from the community,” Sisolak said during a County Commission meeting June 7.

The committee will oversee designs for a pair of elevated, signal-free expressways that would span more than 3 miles and cost about $200 million combined. One would move motorists north from McCarran International Airport along Paradise Road, while the southbound lanes head toward the airport above Koval Lane and Tropicana Avenue.

In July, the RTC’s board of directors will decide whether that same group should analyze costs, distance and routes that would allow a light-rail system, and maybe the Las Vegas Monorail, to ferry passengers between the airport and the resort corridor.

On Thursday, during the RTC’s board meeting, board member John Lee said the proposed panel should also include representatives from nearby cities including Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson.

“This isn’t just about the Strip, it’s about all of us,” said Lee, who serves as North Las Vegas’ mayor.

A recent RTC transit analysis listed the expressway and the light-rail line as potential transit modes to reduce traffic in the region, but the report didn’t mention the monorail.

“Now, all of a sudden, the monorail is thrown in here,” county Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who also sits on the RTC’s board, said last week.

“I will not support a monorail going to the airport,” Giunchigliani said. “It’s never penciled out, it’s antiquated and it’s inappropriate.”

Las Vegas Monorail Co. President and CEO Curtis Myles told the county commissioners that reaching the airport was a “priority,” but his immediate goal was extending the 3.9-mile, elevated monorail from the terminus at MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay.

County Commissioner Larry Brown, who also leads the RTC’s board, said he supports the idea of the three-member panel analyzing all three options.

“Once we made that decision to move forward, it’s a decision — good, bad or indifferent — that will impact Clark County for the next couple of decades,” Brown said.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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