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By now, all of Nevada and most of the country knows the Oakland Raiders have been given approval to move the team and operations to Las Vegas.
But many questions remain before, and if, that move happens.
At stake is much more than the movement of an NFL franchise from one city to another, Nevada taxpayers have promised $750 million to help fund bonds, which will be bought by investors, to help pay for the stadium.
The projected hope is that the stadium will increase tourism by some half million every year. Those people will then spend more and state coffers, which are mostly supplemented with sales taxes, will fill.
“Nevada should be feeling good about this,” chairman of the Stadium Authority Board Steve Hill told KNPR’s State of Nevada.
While many people in Las Vegas are excited about the idea of having an NFL team in the city, there are lots of questions about what is next, like the exact cost of the project.
Hill maintains the entire project will be $1.9 billion with room taxes contributing $750 million of that price tag. However, there are costs that are not pinned down yet like roads, traffic lights and highway infrastructure around the stadium and the practice facility for the team.
The site of the stadium has not been officially selected yet, but the one site that most everyone seems to agree on is known as Russell 62, which is 62 acres of vacant land near Russell Road just west of Mandalay Bay on the other side of Interstate 15.
“They’ve said publicly that’s where they would like to build the stadium,” he said, “I think conceptually that that site works. I don’t imagine that there would be much opposition.”
Hill is estimating everyone has three years and three months to get the work done for the stadium so it is ready for the 2020 football season. With that time line in mind, work on the site could begin as early as the end of this year.
But, since the beginning, not everyone in Southern Nevada has approved of spending public money on a new stadium. Several callers expressed concerns that millions of dollars of public funds will be going to build a stadium rather than to pay for badly needed services like mental health or education.
Hill defended the idea of the stadium. He said the hotel room tax increase will bring in about $50 million a year to pay for the stadium, but the sales taxes collected from items sold at the stadium, money from the live entertainment taxes on concerts and other events, and from the modified business tax will generate about the same amount, which can be used for education, mental health and other social services.
“A stadium is not going to directly impact social services other than the tax revenue,” Hill said, “That revenue will go where it normally goes to the county, to the cities, to the state to help support education and mental health and all of the services that our local and state governments provide.”
Plus, the stadium will help boost UNLV’s football, which will help fundraising for the school, and Hill said the stadium will add 6,000 permanent jobs to the Southern Nevada economy.
Steve Hill, chairman, Stadium Authority Board