If the cuts called for in President Donald Trump’s budget released last week, the plan to bring a light rail line down Maryland Parkway could be in jeopardy, according to the head of the Regional Transportation Commission Tina Quigley.
Quigley told KNPR’s State of the Nevada that if Congress agrees to the cuts suggested in the budget, a large chuck of the funding for the project would be gone.
“One of the programs they talk about cutting is called the new starts program and the ‘new starts’ being new starts for high-capacity transit light-rail projects,” she said, “So, that goes away entirely under the President’s budget. We’ll have to see what Congress does.”
If that part of the budget does make it through Congress intact, Southern Nevada would have to come up with $400 million, or about half, of the estimated total cost of the rail line.
Until that happens, the RTC is moving ahead with the project, which will provide service along one of the busiest streets and heaviest bus ridership areas.
Quigley said the route will provide much needed mass-transit service from McCarran International Airport through the heart of the city and to the growing medical district near University Medical Center.
“It is a route that has got destinations along it,” she said, “We’ve got an airport to the south. We’ve got the university, the Boulevard Mall, the Sunrise Medical District, moving to downtown and the alignment at this point would be a number seven shape. It would head west towards Charleston [Boulevard] towards where the medical school is going.”
Another large project that is on the table right now is the $900 million interchange that would be built at the south end of the Strip for the proposed stadium.
Quigley said the Raiders have talked with her and others at the RTC about the interchange and the larger problem of getting people to and from games, if the team relocates to Las Vegas from Oakland.
She said the team has received a comprehensive and collaborative transportation plan put together by everyone from business leaders to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The Transportation Business Investment Plan was created long before the idea of a stadium and NFL team were floated, but the timely document will allow the organization to see what jurisdiction or business would be involved in which piece of the transportation puzzle.
Quigley also talked to the team about using new technology to “defuse and disperse” people more effectively during peak traffic times before and after games.
“Everybody heads towards the one parking lot and the tailgate parties are there and there are very extreme arrival times and departure times,” she said, “If they could, or we could, start to encourage tailgate parties, activities to occur in other areas instead of one central location, using that app… to defuse and disperse that traffic.”
Quigley said shuttle service could move fans from outside locations to the stadium without the traffic hassles.
Of course, the decision on whether the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas has not been finalized and neither has the exact location of the stadium has not been determined.
Tina Quigley, general manager, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.
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