Las Vegas Sun

August 16, 2017

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Where I Stand:

Getting Southern Nevada’s future on the right track

Brian Greenspun

Brian Greenspun

Readers of The Sunday will notice that this issue is chock full of trains, so to speak. Actually, we have given this issue over to a most important discussion about how well and how fast our city will grow, and how our citizens and visitors will live over the next 20 to 30 years. And how much we are willing to invest in that future.

Throughout our history, Las Vegas has always been ready, willing and able to step up and own the kind of future we envision. Our dreamers and our builders have always been able to capture the imaginations of our people to build the kind of city that, despite the setbacks of the 2008 crash, has made us a city to be envied and emulated.

We now have an opportunity to write the next chapter in the brilliant history of Southern Nevada.

This time it centers on the way we will move not only our tourist economy but also our local economy to the next level. To be more precise, how we will move our tourists and locals from one place to another in the coming decades.

The Sunday, fulfilling our own responsibility to enlighten, encourage and inform our readers about matters of public interest, has devoted its pages this week to a wide-ranging discussion about trains. Light rail to be exact.

This isn’t the first time our community has discussed light rail as a mode of transporting 2 million residents and more than 41 million tourists safely and conveniently through our valley, but it is the first time community groups throughout Clark County have come together to have a serious discussion.

We have framed the issues in our pages and hope to lead the discussion toward the end that all of the stakeholders in this valley agree on a plan that solves what will be a kind of gridlock that not only will choke the life out of locals who cannot traverse our roads to and from work but also the lifeblood of our economy. Tourism is and will be for a long time our No. 1 industry, not only in Clark County but throughout the state.

Solving the transportation challenge not only is a quality-of-life issue but goes to the very essence of our ability to compete. The world is getting smaller, but convention facilities, tourist attractions and hotels around the globe are getting larger, so our ability to provide world-class tourist transportation could be a differentiator.

Already, cities such as Phoenix, Denver, San Diego and Orlando, Fla., have gotten a head start on us with regard to light rail and its ability to move people in a smooth and cost-efficient manner. We are behind, to be sure, but we can catch up and surpass them all.

All we have to do is start. And this is the beginning of that discussion.

How much it will cost, how long it will take, the roadblocks in our way and the hurdles we must overcome are all part of that conversation. And that discussion cannot be had without you, our readers.

For you will be the beneficiaries of a 21st century multimodal system of moving people from the airport to the Strip to downtown to North Las Vegas. Rail that will give tourists easy access to all that we have built for them and rail for locals to have easy access to work, play and home.

The same attitude and commitment that has allowed decades of dreamers and builders to create today’s Las Vegas can propel us to the decisions necessary to make sure we continue to lead all comers when it comes to moving people around a city.

Imagine a Las Vegas in 2026 that is the envy of the world. That’s easy. Now imagine a Las Vegas in 2026 with a world-class transportation system. That is a combination that can’t and won’t be beat.

It all starts today in the pages of The Sunday.

Brian Greenspun is owner, publisher and editor of the Sun.

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