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Las Vegas officials mull light rail connecting airport to Strip

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS In this photo taken Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, cars drive into the MGM Grand hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS >> Officials are looking at the light rail as the best type of transit to link the airport, the Strip and downtown Las Vegas.

A light rail system that would require billions of dollars to build and operate is not yet reflected in the Transportation Investment Business plan, projected to cost as much as $12 billion, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Regional Transportation Commission senior director of engineering and technology David Swallow told the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board that of multiple technology systems, the light rail is proven and can be easily expanded.

“Light rail systems tend to have a little panache that attracts a different type of rider,” Swallow said.

The board took no action, asking for instead for information on prioritizing the various proposals.

Commission general manager Tina Quigley joined Swallow in presenting the light rail proposal as well as the transportation investment plan. She said collaborating with community leaders had gotten the plan to its current state.

“If we can create a culture that is focused on regionalism, a culture that is focused beyond just our own territory, I think we’re gonna be OK,” Quigley said.

The transportation investment plan calls for road and safety improvements as well as new pedestrian bridges, wider sidewalks, an expanded monorail, and a downtown trolley, among other projects. The plan is up for discussion later in January at a Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee meeting.

Officials are looking at creating a Resort Corridor Mobility Association made up of public and private sector representatives who can coordinate on transportation issues.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx worked on the light rail in Charlotte, North Carolina, and spoke to Las Vegas leaders Friday during a meeting organized by Rep. Dina Titus. Foxx stressed the importance of working with local business leaders and said visible progress is important for gaining public support.

“Once people see it, they believe in it, but if there’s too much of a lag time … the confidence starts to wane a little bit,” he said.

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