Las Vegas Monorail Races For Federal Bailout

The Las Vegas Monorail is not up for sale- yet.  It’s a transit line running 3.5 miles from the MGM Grand to the Sahara, speeding Las Vegas tourists to their destination.   Different than funding methods used now, it was a privately funded traffic solution not built with tax dollars- one of the few public transit systems in the country not backed by taxpayer money.monorail

Until now. 

Despite the promise of nine years ago, monorail officials now acknowledge they have been quietly begun seeking pubic dollars in a bid to the keep the financially troubled elevated train running. 

Fitch Ratings recently downgraded the $450 million in bonds for the Las Vegas Monorail project to “CC,” which means the credit rating agency believes a default “appears imminent or inevitable.” 

The project has $200 million in other debt, which can be repaid only after the $450 million “first tier” is repaid. 

Ingrid Reisman, vice president of the Las Vegas Monorail, said the train is now looking for federal loans through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.  Other sources with knowledge of the discussions said monorail officials are also looking at room tax money to help repay the debt. 

The project has failed to meet ambitious ridership projections used to originally sell it to public officials and investors. 

Despite it all, Las Vegas continues to wrestle with the viability of an expensive high-speed electric train or maglev line to whisk people back and forth from Southern California.  [Las Vegas Backstage Access June 21 article.]

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