The world's first farebox financing for a startup transit project was closed in September 2000 for a privately developed monorail in Las Vegas, Nevada, that its promoters believe will become to the strip what street cars are to San Francisco, California. The difference, they say, is that Las Vegas and Clark County will get most of the upside and none of the capital and operating risk on a $414-million investment in public infrastructure. A monorail that has been shuttling 5 million passengers per year between the MGM Grand and Bally's hotels since 1995 will be acquired, upgraded, and expanded for revenue service with the proceeds from the $650 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds sold on September 20. The resort monorail is expected to become the backbone of a seamless urban transit loop serving the city's downtown and airport. When completed in 40 months, it will operate at 4.2-minute headways with seven trains running on 4 mi of elevated guide beams at up to 50 mph. They will travel between seven stations serving eight hotels and the Las Vegas Convention Center. Toll road revenue financing will be used to help fill a $312-million gap in the public funding for a northern extension from the Sahara station to the city's central business district. The first-year fare for the resort monorail is set at $2.50 per trip in 2004, with 25 cent increases planned every third year. A ridership forecast of 19.5 million trips in 2004 assumes that hotel and convention operators will adopt a "shadow tolling" approach for fare collection that creates the perception that monorail rides are free or prepaid. The project financing works because of the resort city's unique demographics, the likelihood that the hotel/casino operators will institute a shadow fare collection system, strong political support, and the commitment by a financially strong turnkey builder and operator to guarantee the transit system's long-term reliability.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Public Works Financing

    147 Elmer Street
    Westfield, NJ  United States  07090-2433
  • Authors:
    • Reinhardt, W G
  • Publication Date: 2000-9


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 1-7
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00800667
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 22 2000 12:00AM