Study Touts Benefits of Monorail Extension - 8 News NOW

Study Touts Benefits of Monorail Extension

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LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas attracts 40 million tourists a year. Most of them reach the Strip via taxi or shuttle. A new report, however, suggests Las Vegas is missing out on millions of dollars by not extending the Las Vegas Monorail to the airport.

Seven years ago, the Clark County Commission approved an extension of the monorail to McCarran, but the proposed extension never materialized.

Monorail officials have long touted an extension as a way to increase the system's profitability. While that idea has never been popular with taxicab or limousine companies, a new study shows a monorail expansion could provide easy money for Las Vegas.

The study by the American Public Transportation Association and the U.S. Travel Association, which is titled "A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth", says investment in rail systems helps drive economic growth in the travel and hospitality industries.

The study adds hotels in cities with direct rail access to the airport receive almost 11 percent more revenue per room than hotels in cities without a rail-to-airport connection.

The report lists Las Vegas as a city that needs such a connection.

"An airport connection in any city is always a beneficial piece of infrastructure for that city," said Las Vegas Monorail President and CEO Curtis Myles. "Connecting an airport to a city's central business district has always been a goal of city and county planners for years."

The report says popular convention cities that lack a rail-to-airport connection are missing out on an estimated $313 million per year in hotel revenue.

An airport connection could also greatly help the Las Vegas Monorail. While Myles says the system has emerged from bankruptcy, and ridership was up during the SEMA convention, daily ridership remains below initial projections.

Approximately 90 percent of monorail riders fly to Las Vegas, adding credence to the study's findings. No plans exist, however, to make the extension to McCarran Airport a reality.

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