Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2021

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Monorail extension delay continues, unlikely to be ready before Las Vegas Stadium opens

Monorail Anniversary

Sam Morris

A train leaves the Convention Center station during the Las Vegas Monorail’s 10th anniversary celebration Saturday, July 26, 2014.

It was supposed to start in June 2018.

The Las Vegas Monorail runs from the SLS to the MGM Grand — in 2017, it hauled 4.8 million people across the back side of most of the Strip. Plans were put in place to extend the route to the Mandalay Bay, connecting the north and south ends of the Strip and putting a stop closer to the rising Las Vegas Stadium.

Then June came and went.

The extension is still planned, but the project has stalled as of now.

Ingrid Reisman, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Las Vegas Monorail Co., said via email she was not able to provide an estimated completion date for the extension.

“The timing of the project is dependent on the close of finance, of which I’m not in a position to speculate,” she said.

As of now, however, it seems the extension will not be ready in time for the 2020 NFL season.

Construction of the monorail extension has been estimated in the past at 18 months — the exact time period remaining on the construction of Las Vegas Stadium. A permit application has recently been submitted to the county for a new station, Dan Kulin, a spokesman for Clark County, said.

The extension is expected to see serious use in linking the northern end of the Strip to a stop near the Las Vegas Stadium, which is being built on the west side of Interstate 15, across from Mandalay Bay.

In past remarks, Las Vegas Monorail Co. CEO Curtis Myles said he estimated that the extension would see 3,000 to 4,000 rides on game days at the stadium.

The extension to Mandalay Bay would create a stop within a walkable distance of the stadium, and likely ease pressure on surrounding properties concerned about the influx of vehicles in their parking areas.

In September, Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, expressed concern that the influx of game-day visitors to the area could leave the company’s properties “choked out” and create parking issues with guests staying in MGM’s resorts — which include Mandalay Bay, Luxor, MGM Grand and New York-New York.

As of now, Las Vegas Monorail Co. has been paying back a $2.1 million loan taken from interest from an escrow account set up for the project — money the company used for engineering costs associated with the extension.

Kulin said that the company had repaid $216,671 of the approximately $2.1 million loan taken from the account. Reisman said via email “the company is meeting the agreed upon payback obligations for the interest monies we were approved to use for design and engineering. That payment schedule is on track and operating as agreed and expected.”

In late 2017, commissioners agreed to set aside $4.5 million annually for the company. The arrangement was unusual, however, due to the commission’s stipulation that the company had to request the funds every year, if needed. It is up to the commission’s discretion to supply the money each year the request is made.