October 1, 2016 - 8:00 pm
Nevadans are fiercely proud of our leadership position as the No. 1 tourism and hospitality destination on the planet. We are also proud of our pioneering spirit, seizing every opportunity to propel our state into the future.
We’ve recently shown that attitude in our efforts to diversify our economy by attracting some of the most exciting and dynamic companies in the world — Apple, Tesla and Faraday Future, to name a few — bringing thousands of new jobs to Nevada.
Today, we once again stand at the threshold of an extraordinary opportunity to usher Southern Nevada into the next chapter of its dominance as the global leader in tourism, gaming and hospitality, while also growing our economy and bringing thousands of new jobs to the valley.
I created the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee to carefully explore and anticipate the infrastructure needs of Las Vegas. Its charge was to ensure that Southern Nevada maintains its leadership position as the greatest destination in the world.
After 16 public meetings, the committee unanimously recommended two significant projects and a public safety measure that will secure and advance the Southern Nevada economy for decades to come.
First, the committee recognized the need to expand and modernize the Las Vegas Convention Center. Although Las Vegas is the convention capital of the world, without improvements and growth, we will fall behind Orlando, Chicago and New York in our efforts to keep and expand our convention portfolio.
Second, the committee recommended the construction of a publicly owned stadium that could be home to an NFL franchise, the UNLV Rebels, professional soccer and major sporting events and concerts. The publicly owned stadium is estimated to cost up to $1.9 billion and will be financed in part by a room tax paid by visitors that will cover $750 million of the project over approximately 30 years. The balance will come from a developer and/or an NFL team. Any developer and/or NFL team must be responsible for cost overruns or operating losses at the stadium. They will have no ownership interest in the stadium.
The convention center and stadium projects will put thousands of Nevadans in the construction industry to work, while creating 14,000 new permanent jobs in Clark County. The two projects will attract 1 million new visitors to Las Vegas, who are estimated to bring $1.4 billion in new economic impact to the community each year.
The recommendations from the committee include several protections for the public. These two new projects — and the new events, jobs and revenue they bring with them — will be paid for by tourists through room taxes. And if an NFL franchise does not come, the stadium will not be built and UNLV will be given an option to secure a stadium for itself. The bond proceeds include sufficient funds to protect the public in the event of an economic downturn, and any NFL franchise will be required to sign a long-term lease prior to the construction of the stadium.
The recommendations also recognize the new threat levels in today’s society by allowing for the funding of more cops on the streets to secure our community. Protecting Southern Nevadans, and the visitors who come here, has always been a top priority for me.
In closing, before us is a rare opportunity to seize the moment and raise Las Vegas — already the best in the world — to the next level of entertainment and hospitality. Getting these projects approved and funded now will open new doors for Las Vegas, bring thousands of Nevadans jobs and secure our leadership position in hosting conventions, entertainment and hospitality.
I’m proud of Las Vegas and the work that has been done to create these possibilities for Nevada’s future and the next phase of our state’s evolution. To lead, we must be bold, thoughtful and visionary. This is what the new Nevada is all about.
Brian Sandoval, a Republican, has served as Nevada governor since 2011.