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Bill introduced to bring light rail system to Clark County

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009 | 11:33 a.m.

CARSON CITY – A light rail system connecting Henderson and the proposed new airport in Ivanpah, south of Las Vegas, could be a gold mine, says Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas.

Schneider has introduced Senate Bill 115 to require local governments to work cooperatively to establish a fixed guideway corridor from Henderson to North Las Vegas. Local governments would determine the route and to the “extent practicable, acquire and use any rights-of-way necessary.”

The light rail system could be fueled by solar power from Boulder City, he said.

The bill would establish three interconnected corridors in Clark County along the Union Pacific Railroad.

One would run between Nevada State College and the South Strip Intermodal Transportation Terminal off Sunset Road. Another would run from the South Strip terminal to the downtown Las Vegas transportation terminal, and the third would run between the downtown Las Vegas terminal and the proposed North Las Vegas regional campus of UNLV.

The bill requires the corridor to include, to the extent possible, the Henderson branch of the Union Pacific Railroad.

A proposal by the Regional Transportation Commission in 2007 to build a 33-mile light rail along that branch was strongly opposed by Green Valley residents who live along the right-of-way. The RTC board changed its priorities for mass transit in the Las Vegas Valley in light of the opposition.

The bill does not mention the proposed Ivanpah airport, but Schneider suggested after he introduced the bill that it could extend that far.

Clark County is struggling to meet federal air quality standards and the system could aid in that effort, as well as relieve traffic congestion, he said.

The bill was referred to the Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee.

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