The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) and the city of Las Vegas announced the groundbreaking for the new ACE rapid transit system today. The new system will provide fast, convenient transportation throughout Southern Nevada. The first phase of the system, ACE Downtown Connector, will include dedicated lanes for rapid transit in Downtown Las Vegas. ACE Downtown Connector will run along Grand Central Parkway, Casino Center Boulevard, and make its way to the Sahara Monorail Station and the Las Vegas Convention Center. While the dedicated lane ends in the Downtown area, service will continue in mixed-flow traffic along Las Vegas Boulevard South.
The system will look and feel like a light rail service but it will have the flexibility of operating on regular streets. ACE will utilize a number of rail-like features including level platform boarding, off-board fare collection and a dedicated transit lane, eliminating the need for the vehicles to compete with traffic. The RTC will operate the system using the Wright StreetCar vehicles, which can accommodate more than 100 people.
Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Shelley Berkley, Mayor Oscar B. Goodman and Ward 5 Councilman Ricki Y. Barlow attended the groundbreaking event, which was held at the World Market Center. Sen. Harry Reid spoke on the importance of the project, which is proceeding thanks to the $32 million he secured for the transit system. “I am pleased that I was able to secure funding for the ACE Downtown Connector project and the larger rapid transit project,” said Reid. “By investing in our transit system, we will reduce our dependence on oil, ease congestion, protect our environment, and give residents and visitors efficient, economical transportation options.”
"The addition of The ACE to southern Nevada's transportation mix gives residents and visitors to Las Vegas a convenient, environmentally friendly new option for traveling to and from downtown. Valley roadways are already crowded and more cars take to our streets every single day. Increasing the use of mass transit will help our community in addressing air pollution, global warming and the need to keep traffic moving," said Rep. Shelley Berkley, who secured $25 million in federal funding for the downtown connector. "As we have seen already with CAT, MAX and The Deuce, mass transit is a hit with southern Nevada families and tourists alike, and I am sure that the ACE will be another winner for the Las Vegas Valley."
Mayor Goodman praised the project and said that it will be critical for the revitalization of the area. Councilman Barlow noted the importance of the project for his ward, which is intersected by the rapid transit line.
“This will radically change the way residents see public transportation in Southern Nevada,” said RTC General Manager Jacob Snow. “Once the system is complete, it will give Las Vegas residents the same flexibility as San Francisco’s BART system and Portland’s rapid transit system.”
Additional funding for the project was provided by the Federal Transit Administration, the Regional Transportation Commission and the city of Las Vegas. The city of Las Vegas Public Works Department is managing the project. The ACE Downtown Connector is scheduled to be operational in 2009. The total cost is estimated at $75 million. The contractor is Capriati Construction.
The RTC is both the transit authority and the transportation planning agency for Southern Nevada. The RTC’s vision is to provide a safe, convenient and effective regional transportation system that enhances mobility and air quality for citizens and visitors. The RTC encourages residents and visitors to use alternate commute modes to help reduce traffic congestion, clean the air and improve the quality of life in Southern Nevada. For more information, visit rtcsnv.com.