Recent Review-Journal articles about the Regional Transportation Commission and local officials planning a $750 million light rail project on Maryland Parkway are disturbing. They seem to have ignored the reasons why this would be a poor investment of taxpayer funds.
Overcrowded buses were cited in on article. Let’s add more regular and express buses during peak times. We don’t need to publicly subsidize travel to and from the airport. Taxis, Uber and Lyft handle this quite well. Investing in a 19th-century travel mode is shortsighted with amazing transportation innovations on the horizon. Plus, the least-expensive proposal to improve Maryland Parkway will benefit everyone — drivers, bus riders, bicyclists and pedestrians.
It is particularly troubling that RTC officials are considering an increase in the sales tax to build light rail. Our state and local sales tax is already the 10th highest in the nation.
The real question: What are our priorities? Raise the sales tax so we can have rail such as Denver and Phoenix? Yet last year Clark County was ranked 16th out of 27 large urban school districts with only 29 percent of fourth-graders proficient in math. Meanwhile, 71 percent of eighth-graders are not proficient in reading. This is embarrassing. Of the 50 largest school districts in the nation, Clark County was 48th in per pupil spending. The localities with light rail have already invested in better public schools.
Educating our students should take precedence over light rail. Recently, Nashville residents voted to reject a proposal to raise taxes for such a project. Las Vegas taxpayers need to convey this message during the RTC’s 30-day comment period on light rail later this summer.