THE city of Las Vegas has agreed an exclusive two-year negotiation agreement with Axios Nevada to develop a masterplan for a future high-capacity transit line along Charleston Boulevard in the city, which would be privately owned and operated.

The project is estimated to cost $US 2-3bn and would run for approximately 30km. Under the agreement with Axios, within the first year the firm will present the city with its ridership and revenue forecasts, a preliminary route plan, the possible location of a depot and how that land would be acquired.

By the end of the second year, Axios must present the city with the final design, construction and operation plans, in addition to a tentative development schedule. This masterplan will be prepared at the company’s own expense and will include the potential costs of the project as well as plans for transit-oriented development.

Although no preference for transport mode is stated, the $US 2-3bn cost is tied to a light rail scheme and connected with the per-km cost of the 14.4km Maryland Parkway project between McCarran International Airport and downtown Las Vegas, which was scrapped in 2019 in favour of a bus rapid transit project. Axios is required to collaborate with bus operator RTC on the use of what will be a shared transport corridor.

“The transportation landscape is changing so dramatically, so I think light rail is immediately what everyone jumps to,” says Las Vegas city councilman Mr Brian Knudsen, as reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal. “But the technology around transportation or mass transit systems changes, so over the next couple of years I think you’ll see a variety of different options.

“At some point the public and Axios and their partners will have to determine what’s the best option for Charleston.”

The proposed project would run from near Hollywood Boulevard in the east valley to near Town Center Drive in Summerlin. The route would pass through downtown Las Vegas, the UNLV Medical District and Downtown Summerlin.

Once the two-year study is completed any potential project will be subject to various studies and approval processes.

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