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Governor wants to wait on NFL approval of Raiders move before fast-tracking freeway projects

Gov. Brian Sandoval on Monday said he wants to take a wait-and-see approach before deciding whether to fast-track at least $899 million in freeway improvements to support construction of a new 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas.

Public funding for the $1.9 billion dome was approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by Sandoval in October, clearing the way for the relocation of the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. NFL owners could vote as soon as January on the Raiders’ move.

That same month, the Nevada Department of Transportation’s board of directors will start examining which Clark County projects should be delayed in exchange for accelerating improvements surrounding two potential sites for the stadium.

“I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, given there’s still a process on the stadium with regard to the NFL,” Sandoval said during Monday’s NDOT board meeting.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll know one way or the other in January,” the governor said. “So, I don’t want to spend a bunch of money in anticipation of that. We don’t know, as we sit here, what’s going to happen.”

A traffic-impact study released last month listed four projects that could help move traffic to and from a stadium that would be home to the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and the UNLV football team.

Sandoval reiterated that no new funding would be needed for those transportation projects, which were scheduled for construction sometime between 2020 and 2035. Instead, NDOT officials will decide which near-term projects should be delayed, with a heavy focus on those scheduled between 2019 and 2021.

The projects that would be accelerated to support the stadium include:

■ Adding one lane of traffic in each direction of Interstate 15 and adding carpool lanes between Tropicana Avenue and Blue Diamond Road for $274 million.

■ Building five direct-access ramps from the carpool lane to five exits along I-15, including Harmon and Hacienda avenues, for $400 million.

■ Rebuilding the Tropicana Avenue interchange at I-15 for $150 million.

■ Building carpool-lane ramps directly connecting I-15 and the 215 Beltway for $75 million.

“We’re constantly planning, and we have project ideas in Las Vegas and in and around the Las Vegas stadium,” said Bill Hoffman, NDOT’s deputy director. “If the stadium comes to fruition, there’s a great chance that a lot of these projects will be a part of that.”

State lawmakers last month approved $750 million in public financing from Clark County hotel room taxes to help pay for the stadium. The family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson has pledged $650 million to the project, and the Raiders have committed $500 million.

A 62-acre area northwest of Russell Road and Interstate 15 and the 140-acre Bali Hai Golf Club, between Interstate 15 and Las Vegas Boulevard, just south of Russell, are the two leading locations under consideration by the stadium’s developers.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

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

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