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A week out from Las Vegas Grand Prix road work beginning, public contribution still unknown

Updated March 27, 2023 - 11:22 am

With millions of dollars worth of needed road upgrades set to begin in preparation for the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix, questions still swirl around how much public money will go toward those efforts.

Repaving work will kick off April 2 on a multiphase work project along the 3.8-mile stretch of public roads that will make up the circuit of the 50-lap race.

At this month’s Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority meeting, the agency’s President and CEO Steve Hill noted that F1 requested $37 million to go toward the project.

The exact cost of the needed roadwork hasn’t been publicly announced, but Hill noted the work is “more than double” that of F1’s ask. That would peg the costs to be at least $74 million but likely higher.

At some point the Clark County Commission will need to discuss and potentially approve any amount of public money that will go toward the project. It could be all $37 million, a portion of that amount, or nothing at all.

When they might do so remains to be seen. When asked for an update Friday, neither Commissioner Tick Segerblom nor Commissioner Justin Jones offered one. Commission Chairman Jim Gibson and Commissioner Michael Naft weren’t immediately available for comment late Friday afternoon.

Various upgrades are needed for the planned 3.8 mile circuit — which spans portions of Las Vegas Boulevard, Harmon Avenue, Koval Lane and Spring Mountain Road — to be race ready.

From repaving roads, removing various medians, adjusting corners and prepping for safety walls to be installed, there’s plenty of work needed ahead of the race. The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend will take place Nov. 16-18 at night, with F1 race cars expected to reach speeds of up to 212 mph.

The first portion of upgrading the roads for the race, which includes initial paving and removal of some medians, will occur between April 2 and June 30. The last portion — the final paving of F1-approved asphalt — will take place between July 26 and Sept. 15.

Both portions of work will see one of four phases worked on at a time. Those include Sands Avenue, Las Vegas Boulevard, Harmon Avenue and Koval Lane. Portions around the F1 paddock, being built off the intersection of Harmon and Koval, and the MSG Sphere also will be paved.

Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst at Applied Analysis, noted the Las Vegas Grand Prix will result in a $1 billion weekend, and even if the full $37 million investment by the county is voted on, it still seems like a worthy investment.

“It’s a single, initial time for a permanent race,” Hill told the Review-Journal last November. “So, yeah, the investment is well worth it, but the exact number, they still need to work out with the county.”

Add that massive economic impact on top of the philanthropic efforts F1 has already contributed in Las Vegas.

Fans wanting to sign up for the priority list to purchase tickets to the race had to donate $7.77 to the Las Vegas Grand Prix Foundation. The money generated stood at over $743,000 following the initial rush of donations. Race officials donated $100,000 to Las Vegas nonprofit Project 150 and volunteers helped fill holiday food boxes for homeless, displaced and disadvantaged high school students.

Nonetheless, here we are four months later and the exact public contribution is still unknown.

Despite the apparent benefits of the race, the public should know, before work begins, how much of their tax money will go toward the project.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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