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Commissioner suggests Raiders pay for road improvements

Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani threw a Hail Mary pass on Thursday by suggesting that traffic improvements surrounding the new Raiders stadium should be funded by the project’s developers.

But, that won’t likely happen, according to the director of the Nevada Department of Transportation.

“I want them to be successful, but not at the expense — more expense — of the public than they already are,” Giunchigliani said, referring to $750 million in Clark County hotel taxes that will go toward the estimated $1.9 billion stadium.

“If it impacts our regular streets because of the flow, then that in my opinion is their cost for infrastructure, not ours,” Giunchigliani said during a board meeting for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. “We need to be aware of how that comes into play.”

NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said that stadium developers would likely pay for a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 15, linking the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino to the 62-acre stadium site on Russell Road, just west of Interstate 15.

“In defense of the developer, you have to look at who’s adding more traffic during a special event, versus day-to-day traffic,” Malfabon said after the RTC board meeting.

“You’re bound to have congestion during a special event,” Malfabon said. “The same fears came when T-Mobile Arena opened, and traffic jams aren’t as bad as anticipated.”

NDOT is considering whether to sell bonds to pay for roughly $200 million to improve access along Interstate 15 near the stadium site, with construction expected to commence at the start of the 2020 NFL season.

Malfabon also said his agency will examine a traffic impact study that was submitted to the county in June, containing nearly 40 on-site and off-site improvements that include widening Polaris Avenue, paving multiple access roads and creating traffic signal timing plans for games and other events.

Malfabon said he is concerned that the proposed pedestrian bridge may be too close to a direct-access ramp that NDOT wants to build as a way to connect a new carpool lane on I-15 to Hacienda avenue.

Another challenge may come from an NDOT drainage system emanating from a culvert that runs beneath the stadium site, Malfabon said, adding that a giant video screen facing I-15 could pose a distraction to drivers.

“I think we can work out all these issues,” Malfabon said. “Until things happen, that’s when your fears are settled and you say to yourself ‘it wasn’t as bad as I thought.’”

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

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