A long Thursday session for the Nevada Assembly concluded without a vote on the proposed Las Vegas stadium for the Oakland Raiders.
Following the Senate’s vote of approval on Tuesday, the meeting of the Assembly on Thursday was seen as the next key step toward deciding the stadium’s fate. Despite hours of discussion, the Assembly failed to vote on the issue.
One of the reported reasons for the delay was the uncovered findings from the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). According to NDOT, road improvements for the area surrounding the stadium will cost $889 million. While some of these plans had already been outlined by NDOT and were slated to gradually take shape between 2020 and 2035, the fact that they would need to be accelerated for the stadium became a concern. More from the Las Vegas Sun:
Many legislators were frustrated that they found out about the report only through a Review-Journal article published online late Thursday evening. The legislators said that the information would have been helpful as they deliberated over the stadium project over the last several days.
“I think everyone in this room was researching this topic on Oct. 4,” Democratic Assemblywoman Amber Joiner said. “I think we all really wish this would’ve been available.”
NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon ran through some of the details of the report with Assembly members after the Assembly came back from its recess around midnight. Malfabon explained that the report had not been released previously because he hadn’t yet shared the report with his own board members.
He also explained that the road improvements around whichever of the two final stadium sites is ultimately chosen would not cost the department any extra money.
When recommending the project to governor Brian Sandoval, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee did so without selecting a stadium site. The Raiders and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. are known to prefer either a location north of Russell Road or the Bali Hai Golf Club. The latter site emerged as a contender earlier this summer, but has been met with resistance by Southwest Airlines, which claims that developing the stadium in that location would interfere with operations at McCarran International Airport.
Given the proximity between the two sites, however, the NDOT projects will have to take place regardless. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has a more detailed look at NDOT’s recommendations, which call for creating a new lane in both directions on Interstate 15 between Tropicana Avenue and Blue Diamond Road, five new access ramps from the carpool-lane to five I-15 exits, a reconstructed Tropicana Avenue interchange, and car-pool lane ramps connecting I-15 and the 215 Beltway. The Review-Journal also looked at how NDOT would implement the changes:
To get the projects fast-tracked, NDOT will need to delay other improvements planned for the local highway system, Director Rudy Malfabon said.
“We won’t do all $800 million-plus in the next few years because we don’t have that much right now,” Malfabon said.
NDOT would have to rely on federal and state resources, with the 10-year extension of a fuel indexing tax that Clark County voters will consider on the Nov. 8 ballot under Question 5.
“The stadium will be paying for its proportionate share of the infrastructure costs,” said Mari St. Martin, a spokeswoman for Sandoval.
“The director has advised that the road projects are scheduled and will be built regardless of whether or not the stadium is built,” St. Martin said. “The fiscal note provided by the department to the Legislature on the stadium project indicated there would not be a financial impact to NDOT’s existing planning.”
The stadium developers have set aside $375 million to buy the land, pay for on-site infrastructure improvements such as utility lines and roads surrounding the stadium.
Raiders owner Mark Davis is expected to seek the NFL’s permission to relocate if the stadium is approved during the special session.
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