Now working with an extra two months, the committee tasked with studying a new Oakland Raiders stadium in Las Vegas has through the end of September to answer several pressing questions.
The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee was to have delivered its findings to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval by the end of July. However, faced with numerous site options and questions about the project’s final price tag, the group requested an extension earlier this month.
Given what the committee is dealing with, it makes sense that Sandoval granted an extension. The Raiders and partners Las Vegas Sands Inc. and Majestic Realty had initially formed a consensus on site at Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane, only for Southwest Airlines to object to the proposal over concerns about how the development would affect McCarran Airport.
Since that site was taken off the table, more proposals have been discussed. While in some circles a site close to the Strip is preferred, the City of Las Vegas recently stated its intention to pitch the location of the Cashman Center in downtown. In the midst of that debate, the stadium’s projected price tag has risen from $1.4 billion to a likely cost of $1.7 to $2.1 billion.
With these options on the table, the committee must deliver a report on how the State of Nevada could potentially fund a portion of the project. And with some preferring a faster timeline for approval, a special legislative session may be required, something that Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Journal-Review recently explored:
I consulted with the RJ’s political columnist, Steve Sebelius, and asked him how long it would take to call a special session of the Nevada Legislature, which seems to be a necessary next step in the process. His assessment: If a session is anticipated, it could be called quite rapidly, probably within a day or so. The key would be determining how long it would take to draft the necessary legislation, and the committee has already begun composing some of the verbiage.
By the way, I asked Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter whether it’s essential to have a special session to enact the legislation needed for the $1.4 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and improvement project. The committee has recommended increasing the room tax by 0.5 percentage points and establishing a seven-member oversight panel to manage that project.
Ralenkotter said the sooner the legislation is enacted, the better in terms of keeping costs down. But it isn’t essential that lawmakers meet before they’re scheduled to convene in February.
The stadium developers don’t have that luxury of time. They’re hoping for a development package in place before the National Football League owners convene in January to consider the Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas.
When looking at what the committee must solve, the extension was necessary. Now it will be a matter of developing a consensus, and determining what financial role, if any, the state plays in the project.
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