Light rail system on Maryland Parkway a great bet for fed financing, RTC authorities says

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Regional Transport Commission A making of a proposed light rail system along Maryland Parkway. The Regional Transportation Commission’s Tina Quigley said this week the job can be finished if 50 percent of the expected $700 million expense is federally funded.

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017|2 a.m.

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A proposed light rail system along Maryland Parkway would be a boon for the economy and a great bet for countless dollars in federal financing, stated Tina Quigley, general manager of the Regional Transport Commission, this week on “Nevada Newsmakers.”

“It has a lot of opportunity for financial advancement,” stated Quigley about the proposed 8.7-mile path, which would connect McCarran International Airport to UNLV and downtown. “It is a passage that is ripe and right for developer interest. We speak with developers all the time: ‘When is it going to occur?'”

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Mikayla Whitmore Tina Quigley, general supervisor of the Regional Transport Commission of Southern Nevada, speaks throughout the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 at the Bellagio on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017.

“They wish to invest,” Quigley said. “They wish to develop. They want to build shops and work centers, and we’re simply waiting.”

Yet the project– which could potentially be completed by 2023– won’t continue without federal funding covering half of the cost, Quigley stated. Price quotes of the task’s cost variety from $573 million to $705 million,

“We believe we can get the thing done if we can get 50 percent federal funding,” Quigley said. “If we cannot, then we will have to talk about other ways of financing.”

The importance of the job gives Quigley a sense that federal funding will be protected. The route of the light rail job now carries 33,000 vehicles and 9,000 transit riders daily. An approximated 35,000 individuals operate in the corridor.

It is “an insanely competitive path” when it concerns federal financing, Quigley stated. “It would just kick butt over routes in Kansas City (Mo.), Tulsa, Okla., or anywhere else they are currently developing light rail,” she said.

The north-south route would connect the airport with the university, the Boulevard Mall and the Dawn Medical District. The route could also be extended west to the Las Vegas Medical District and the site of the brand-new UNLV School of Medicine, Quigley stated.

“In doing so, you have actually connected numerous destinations therefore several work centers within a close proximity of numerous roofs, that the ridership will be actually really high,” Quigley stated. “It (ridership) will likewise be high by the examination requirements that the feds use in picking systems they are going to invest in. It is a terrific corridor.”

The Nevada Legislature approved 3 expenses during the 2017 session to allow the RTC to pursue long-lasting, mass-transit services to the Maryland Parkway corridor, consisting of light rail and street cars. The legislation likewise gives the RTC till completion of 2020 to ask Clark County citizens for a sales-tax walking to assist fund the job.

“It will move individuals,” Quigley said. “Today, Maryland Parkway is one of our greatest (bus) ridership paths. We have over 9,000 individuals a day riding that path.”

Quigley said an environmental research study will be launched soon for public comment.

Ray Hagar is a retired political reporter from the Reno Gazette-Journal and current reporter/columnist for the Nevada Newsmakers podcast and site, nevadanewsmakers.com. Follow Ray on Twitter at @RayHagarNV.

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