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Governor candidate wants to stop Las Vegas Raiders stadium deal

CARSON CITY — The funding is in place, the bonds are sold and concrete is being poured.

By all accounts, the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas is well on its way to being completed before the 2020 NFL season.

That is, unless Dan Schwartz, the Republican state treasurer running for governor, gets his way.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Schwartz said he has a plan to slam the brakes on the project if he moves into the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City.

He would strand the stadium in a roadless desert just off the Strip until the Raiders agree to rework the deal.

“Assuming I’m elected, I cannot interfere with the various contracts that are out there,” Schwartz said. “But the governor does control the roads. What I will do is tell them that you can build the $2 billion stadium, but you ain’t going to have any roads.”

Schwartz promised to withhold funding for roads to and from the stadium, such as freeway onramps and offramps, until the deal is reworked to remove the $750 million of room taxes helping to fund the stadium, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium.

He said he doesn’t want to undo the tax, but he does want to redirect that money to education, specifically to raise teacher salaries and fund education savings accounts.

Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and chairman of the board overseeing the stadium project, said such a move would tarnish Nevada’s reputation.

“That deal’s in place, and there’s no way to reverse that,” Hill said.

Hill also stressed that the bill passed in 2016 that paved the way for the contract with the Raiders passed with significant bipartisan support.

“I would hope that whoever our next governor is would appreciate that the state has collectively made a decision on this, and that passed through the Legislature with a supermajority in both houses,” he added. “We have created a law that was very straightforward that outlined the process, and we have followed through on the commitment that was made to the Raiders.”

Schwartz has long been a critic of the taxpayer subsidy approved in 2016. That key piece of funding for the $1.9 billion project helped lure the Raiders away from Oakland.

And he’s not the only candidate who has a problem with the deal.

On the Democratic side of the race, the stadium funding is playing out as one of the key issues between Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani.

Sisolak was a primary driver of the Raiders project. Giunchigliani is critical of the deal but doesn’t think it can be undone.

“Chris opposed this from the beginning. Unfortunately, the way the deal is structured, the $750 million subsidy can’t be redirected to important priorities like education,” her campaign manager, Eric Hyers, told the Review-Journal in a statement.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-38290. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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