Monorail funding shortfall could impact Mandalay Bay Raiders stadium shutdown
Posted: July 15, 2018, 12:00 p.m.
Last update on: July 14, 2018, 01:19h.
The Las Vegas Monorail could be a hero if it can reach Mandalay Bay — the stop fans would use to reach the Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium when it opens in 2020 — but for now, that status is challenged.
A recent funding cut threatens to stall the expansion from its current end at the MGM Grand to farther south in Mandalay Bay, meaning tourists and locals will have to carpool, taxi or drive and find a parking space to see the games. kick off at the Las Vegas Stadium in two years.
According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, plans to create a new monorail station at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place by the time the Raiders play their first NFL game in Las Vegas have stalled because the company failed to acquire $110 million in bonds that would pay for the extension.
The monorail begins at SLS Las Vegas at the north end of the Strip.
Impact of delayed construction
The Clark County Commission approved the Mandalay Bay expansion at a zoning meeting in March, and construction on the project was scheduled to begin last June.
Steve Sisolak – now the Democratic candidate for governor of Nevada and currently chairman of the Clark County Commission – said the monorail would be a vital aspect of transportation to and from the future Raiders stadium.
“We can’t do everything by taxi, Uber and private transport. The monorail needs to take a bigger percentage of that,” Sisolak told the RJ.
The Madison Square Garden Sphere in Las Vegas will also open in 2020: an 18,000-seat, 360-foot-tall orb-shaped concert hall. Sphere developers have expressed interest in a nearby monorail stop. Current plans call for the Sphere to connect to the Sands Expo Center via a temperature-controlled pedestrian bridge.
Without the guaranteed bail money, the Clark County Commission is reviewing the company’s building permits.
The project’s delay is not a complete surprise.
In January, the Vital Vegas blog reported on Twitter that the companies were “reluctant to underwrite” the unsecured bonds.
“Mandalay badly needs it, but the only way forward is for the county or MGM Resorts to guarantee bond payments,” VV noted.
The company is eligible to apply for up to $4.5 million in Clark County loans each year, but approval is not guaranteed.
Beyond the main attractions, the monorail simply makes it easier for visitors to navigate the 4 miles of the Las Vegas Strip. More Strip casinos have ditched free parking, a tactic some say is hurting tourism.
“Customers hate it,” said Anthony Curtis, publisher of Advisor Las Vegas, when talking about parking and resort fees. “Everyone hates resort fees, but parking fees are worse.”