Las Vegas Metropolitan Monorail Plan:
Catalyst for Nevada Economic Development
The economic, industrial and urban transportation paradigms of the American Monorail Project fit remarkably well into the “Unify/Regionalize/ Diversify” proposals of the Economic Development Agenda For Nevada, developed by Brookings Mountain West and SRI International for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. In response to the 2011 Nevada Economic Development Bill, Brookings’- SRI International’s Policy Recommendations for Nevada focus on Target Opportunities for Nevada derived from a comprehensive analysis and strategic evaluation of state and regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to a full spectrum of factors, conditions and trends affecting Nevada’s economy, workforce and industry.
Serving as a comprehensive organizing concept for implementation of the Economic Development Agenda for Nevada, American Monorail’s urban transportation, industrial and economic paradigms offer new perspectives and strategies capable of enhancing every economic opportunity and industrial sector targeted by the Economic Development Agenda. The American Monorail Project’s organizing principles and strategic objectives bring every element of the Economic Development Agenda into play as active components of a Dynamic Urban Infrastructure paradigm that modern monorail systems represent.
Through every aspect of the monorail industry, from engineering, research, development, manufacturing and construction to operation of state-of-the-art transportation services, monorails can proactively engage the broadest range of urban conditions, systems and economics. The visible signs of economic vitality that monorail systems would introduce to greater Las Vegas could be more extensive and ubiquitous than the 24-7 activities of the city’s gaming, entertainment and tourism industries, by serving as the primary links among suburbs, work places, businesses, entertainment venues, casinos, resorts, Downtown and McCarran Airport. A metropolitan monorail system would provide constant evidence of the people and economy of Las Vegas in motion, while the system itself would be an economic engine serving and stimulating every aspect of the urban environment that it engaged.
As a profitable, self sustaining public-private joint development entity, the Las Vegas metropolitan monorail industry and service providers could enhance the performance of all the industries recommended as Target Opportunities in the Economic Development Agenda, while extending mobility, economic and quality of life improvements into the suburban residential neighborhoods surrounding Las Vegas’ urban core. The distinct advantages a monorail system would present the entire Las Vegas metropolitan area, beyond the financial, employment and development opportunities that a 3 to 5 billion dollar construction project would entail, could be extended permanently throughout the local and regional economies, businesses, industries and population that the monorail system would serve.
Alternatives to Public Transportation Funding Regimes
The distinct nature and potentials monorail technology, industry, systems and services present to urban environments and their economies reach far beyond the roles played by static infrastructure of roads, bridges, freeways, sewers, utilities, flood control structures, municipal government buildings and other public facilities, into a relatively independent, hybrid realm of public-private industries and services. Traditional public services including police and fire protection, education, library and health services, building inspection, public housing, tax and revenue collection, business regulation, public transportation and the myriad services for which government decision makers assume responsibility on behalf of their respective constituencies, are significantly constrained by the priorities and limitations of public funds, tax revenues and fiscal budgets.. The private industry-based joint-venture structures and strategies on which American Monorail’s Las Vegas Metropolitan Monorail System proposals are based, are designedly independent of the fiscally challenged traditional infrastructure and public services models of local, regional and state governments, that are all too often placed in precarious financial condition by the demands and conditions federal funding regimes impose on governmental agencies and decision makers.
Indeed, the most recent set of conditions set by the US Secretary of Transportation, to qualify the California High-Speed Rail Authority for federal funding, would appear to require that most, if not all of the 800-mile, $200 billion, high-speed rail project be approved and embarked upon by June of 2012, or the Authority would risk the loss of $3.3 billion (approximately 3-5%) in federal funding for the first phase of the project’s construction. Whether the High-Speed Rail Authority commits to spending $68-107 billion on a San Francisco to Los Angeles portion of the proposed high-speed train plan, or is left no option but taking on the entire original plan, this form of highly leveraged, conditional funding obligation would only serve to magnify the long-term public debt, and accelerate the cascading insolvency of the High-Speed Rail Authority and the State of California.
In an act of reckless political bait-and-switch, California’s Governor and State Senate have embraced the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s “reinterpretation” of the original voter-approved high-speed rail initiative to support the issuance of the first $6 billion of state bonds to fund an array of non high-speed rail components of the system, including a 130-mile section of standard passenger rail in the heart of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley (serving an estimated 3% of the system’s projected riders), that they hope will meet the start deadline and preserve the federal government’s funding commitments to the project. While completely ignoring a series of legal challenges and critical reports beginning with a 2008 Due Diligence Report on the California High Speed Rail Proposal, by Wendell Cox and Joseph Vranich for The Reason Foundation, and continuing through the July 2012 legislative vote, political decision makers and high-speed rail authorities have produced no credible evidence that the high-speed rail system could ever be cost-effectively built or put into service. After rejecting a 2010 French national railways’ proposal to join in the design and operation of a cost-effective, operationally profitable California HSR system along Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles (The same route proposed for American Monorail’s high-speed monorail), state government and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are making every effort to start the convoluted project, and place state taxpayers on the hook for tens of billions of dollars of public spending and long-term debt. The I-5 French proposal by NRCF, operator of a 1,100-mile system that carried 114.5 million passengers in 2010, and provides 800 high-speed train trips per day, at an operating profit, was considered to be incompatible with the High-Speed Rail Authority’s long-standing choice of a route through the eastern San Joaquin Valley.
While the federally guaranteed $500,000,000 loan granted Solyndra Corporation for the construction of a solar panel manufacturing facility in Fremont, California was defaulted upon in 2011, after the company laid off its 1,100 employees, a monorail manufacturing plant similar to a new Bombardier monorail manufacturing facility planned near Sao Paulo, Brazil, could be developed with approximately $50,000,000 of private financing; one tenth the cost of the now closed Solyndra plant. This parallels the conditions, performance and financial profile of nearly every public mass transportation service in the United States, and stands in stark contrast with the inherently elegant, adaptable and cost-effective potentials presented by the modern monorail service industry. Addressing the ever-increasing debt and poor performance of government-provided public transportation services, privately supported initiatives to develop monorail systems that strategically and cost-effectively improve the full range of urban transportation and related conditions are clearly articulated throughout the American Monorail Project’s website in a comprehensive program of written, graphic and video presentations. Perhaps the greatest fiscal advantage presented by a private industry-centered transportation initiative such as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Monorail is that it need not require the creation or expansion of government bureaucracy, workforce, overhead or indebtedness at any level.
Transforming Public-Private Collaboration and Industry
A brilliantly successful comparative example of the mutually beneficial public-private industry joint ventures proposed in the American Monorail Project’s plans for Nevada and California is the Space X rocket and satellite program to replace NASA’s Space Shuttle mission to man and supply the International Space Station. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, of Hawthorne, California, has developed an independent, private industrial capability so competitive that it is NASA’s leading private contract supplier of launch vehicles and space capsules to replace the Space Shuttle’s International Space Station missions. While the Space X-NASA joint venture continues American cutting edge leadership in space travel and exploration, the American Monorail Project proposes to revolutionize a rail transportation industry with roots in the 19th Century, and bring it fully into the 21st Century.
Bringing the NASA- Space X collaborative joint development venture into comparison with the business-as-usual continuation of US transportation practices, and their arcane centralized planning and funding regimes, accentuates the innovative advancement of US space industry in dramatic contrast with the unsustainably inefficient practices of American passenger rail industry and governmental planning authorities. Viewed in comparison with NASA’s very successful, $135 billion, 10-year Lunar Program, the California High-Speed Rail Project would spend somewhere between 68 and 200 billion dollars of largely borrowed state bond money, that would require state taxpayers to repay double the bond sale amount over a 30-year period of bond debt service, in addition to an estimated $2 billion annual operating subsidy to support the inefficient transportation system. It is clear that transportation development projects so financially challenged from their inception cannot be expected to improve or strengthen any aspect of an urban economy beyond the construction phase of the project, and are likely to add to the debt load of local, regional and state governments.
Adaptable to all levels of government, and virtually any transportation environment, the private venture-based monorail development paradigm of the American Monorail Project presents a proactive, growth-oriented implementation program for the Nevada Economic Development Agenda coordinated with, and implemented through, the public-private joint development organization and designs of the American Monorail Project’s Las Vegas Metropolitan Monorail Plan. American Monorail’s public-private joint venture concept that seeks to bring government and public entities and resources into cooperative efforts with private monorail companies and developers, without requiring the commitment of public financial resources or revenue, distinguishes American Monorail’s proposals from all other infrastructure and economic development proposals, in any public or private sector industry.
Monorail- Economic Development Interface
A collaborative effort between the American Monorail Project, Brookings Mountain West, SRI International, the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the Governor’s Executive Office of Economic Development, could bring the potentials of monorails and a future Nevada monorail industry into direct applications and interface with the Nevada Economic Development Agenda, that could provide clear and concrete proposals addressing the State’s Economic Assets, Challenges and Target Industries in the context of its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats enumerated in the Agenda. Further refinement and adaptation of monorail technology, industrial and economic potentials to the Agenda’s strategic industry-based Recommendations and Target Opportunities could articulate and focus the specific advantages monorail development can present to the Unify/Regionalize/Diversify implementation strategies of the Economic Development Report.
The Economic Development Agenda for Nevada’s implementation may be substantially enhanced by the introduction of the innovative organizational, financial and industrial strategic initiatives articulated in the American Monorail Project’s Mission, Blueprint for a New American Industry, Organizational Forum, Public-Private Joint Venture Strategies, Monorail System Adaptability and Transportation Funding applications to specific Policy Recommendations and Targeted Opportunities of the Economic Development Agenda.
See the proposed routes for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Commuter Monorail.