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Las Vegas monorail deserves public funds

In response to your Dec. 17 article, “Monorail placing risky bet on convention business”: It really is unfair to expect our monorail system to pay for its capital and operating expenses when the Regional Transportation Commission’s bus operations are heavily subsidized by public funds: Only 52 percent of expenses are covered by rider fairs.

According to the RTC’s June 30 financial statements, the bus system during fiscal year 2017 received $148.6 million in sales tax revenue and $39 million in federal/state grants. Yet setting aside just $4.5 million a year in hotel tax revenue for the monorail’s Mandalay Bay extension is criticized.

Are we really willing to let the monorail fail? Can you imagine how Las Vegas will appear to tourists and convention planners if we have abandoned monorail stations and elevated tracks from Tropicana to Sahara? What is the travel alternative for the millions of people riding it each year?

It is time we put the monorail transit system on equal footing by providing it additional funds. Let’s permanently allocate at least $10 million a year in hotel tax revenue to help with its capital and operational expenses. With the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s extravagant and unnecessary expenditures, they can afford this. Plus, the monorail supports the authority’s purpose, in this case by offering a great connection between convention facilities.

If we are going to publicly subsidize mass transit, we can also help Las Vegas’s unique monorail system survive and achieve its true potential. Maybe a connection to the airport will be next.

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