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Reader Poll for March 5, through March 14, 2005

Answer our reader Poll, win 1 free $40+ Show tickets!   Each Reader Poll, the 3 best replies each week will receive one $40+ show tickets absolutely FREE! The 3 winners will be selected by Richard Reed, IVLV owner.

Since the Monorail has come up short in government funding and the future of its expansion to move people from the airport to downtown Las Vegas is highly doubtful, this week’s Reader Poll asks . . . Should the Monorail project continue with a tax placed on visitors hotel rooms? WHY or WHY Not?
Reader Poll Replies:

Personally I do not feel a tax should be placed on my room when I plan on never using the monorail.  Greg Howard

*  I have no problem with a modest tax, but not forever.  Glenda E.  FL

The monorail is now priced where I will use it in a limited way. A tax on the price of a ticket will drive people to use the monorail less and increase their ridership on the CAT system.  R235y

When you fly into Vegas, you are paying a extra tax on your tickets. When you rent a car, you are paying a extra tax or surcharge on your car rental. I don't think it would kill anyone or keep anyone from coming to Vegas if there was an extra $1.00 charge per ticket that would go to the monorail system for expansion and updates. How many people come to Vegas a year?  This is a no brainer! I love riding the monorail in Vegas, and would love to
see it connect to downtown.  Chuck Merica

* I believe the monorail project should continue with additional tax to visitors.  My opinion is that Las Vegas thrives on tourism and it's visitors. The monorail system will mainly cater to it's visitors. Therefore I feel the visitors should bear the brunt of the burden. I'm sure that there other forms of transportation - taxis - buses - or even walking , but the monorail is a sign of the future.  Ron Sankunas  Bridgewater MA

*  I believe it is a great necessity to have the monorail running to and from the airport since the traffic is so heavy in Vegas-- it is difficult to catch a bus because they are always packed and keep passing you by and the Taxis are always overcharging you by taking the long route to get to where you want to go. I would be happy to pay a $1 fee for my room to go towards completing the operation of the monorail--there are millions of people who go to Las Vegas every year and if each person paid just $1 fee for their room, the monorail would be fixed and running in no time.   E Holan  San Jose CA

* The casino and big corp. should take the full cost of the monorail.  They are the ones that will profit from it in the long run.  James Miller Sr  Worcester MA

Foresite, foresite, foresite. again suits having coffee didn't foresee the funding form the govt. not coming there way.  Caught with there pants down and now scrambling for a solution its come to them to tax the tourist.  Why not we pay for use of the phone in casinos rooms.  A charge for electricity and I think for water. (that may or may not be true.) Again the tourist is going to be hit with another small but significant expense.  I really don't understand big business. then again I'm just a small person.  Not tax for this guy.  Watcherboy

* I am an every other year Vegas visitor. My husband and I come there for the rodeo finals and to celebrate our anniversary. We love it, we love the ambiance, we love the excitement, everything about it is wonderful. While I understand the need for the monorail and for more options for transportation, I do not feel visitors who come to your city should be taxed for it. Why? Las Vegas brings in thousands of visitors/tourists per month. And with them, comes a lot of money, a lot of gambling, a lot of shows and food eaten. We come, we see, we gamble, we usually lose, and we go home. When I read that the monorail was set back because of a loss of a federal grant for almost $160 million, I was a little sick to my stomach. All of the homeless, the hungry, the working man struggling to get by, that we have in this country, and the government considers using millions of dollars to fund a transportation system for ONE city to go 5 miles? I know that development is costly, and advancement is necessary, what I don't agree with is taxing the people that help to make your city as rich as it is. Our gambling habits make the casino owners fat with our dollars. While it is our choice to come, play, spend...taxing us for a monorail system isn't our choice. Personally, I feel the casino owners should be the ones to pay for the monorail. Between every casino in Vegas, from the Strip to Downtown, the money is there to fund the monorail, which would be beneficial to them all. They would spend a lot, but they would gain more in the inter-city traffic they would be able to get. Instead of someone staying on the strip and not going downtown or vice versa, this would allow ALL tourists to easily and inexpensively travel back and forth, therein enriching both areas of Casinos. But throwing a tax to visitors for a monorail system that only affects them in how many times a year they come to Vegas, is not a smart move. Vegas MAY end up losing tourists for that reason. I have gambling where I live about 45 minutes away. I could just as easily spend my gambling dollars HERE rather than pay a tax for something that while beneficial, is more of a want than a need for Las Vegas. Tax the casinos. The monorail is to benefit their customers. Let them pay the tax and reap the rewards!  Thank you for reading my response!  Beth Martin, Denver, CO

*  I see no problem with an added "tax" or "surcharge" to aid in the extension of the monorail. I would think that a panel be assigned by the mayor and/or city council to address how it would be applied and to what services.  It may bring some dissension, but in the long run it would be great for Las Vegas: a big time saver and safer transportation of visitors.  Now if we could just get it all the way to the airport, too!  Keith Morris

 Being From New York I do know a thing or two or three about being taxed.  I have no problem taxing visitors but be sure to give us something for it. It is my understanding a lot of tax money went into the project already (Finished early and under budget; The committee was so proud of that ) Instead of worrying about how to pay for an expansion why not concern yourselves with getting what you do have to work.  Any monies collected should go into a dedicated fund for expansion and not to be used for fixing what taxpayers have already paid for.  Maybe the committee should be trying to get the egg off their collective faces and find a bettor use for what they have. They could bring back the bicycle cabs they took off the strip and let them use the rails or maybe flood them and we could have gondola rides. The point is what Las Vegas has here is a joke and the main concern is how to pay for an expansion.  If anybody cares I do have a valid ticket for more rides that I may never get to use. So lets get with it and fix what is broken before one more penny is spent on a dream.  I also think the airport car rental plan is a joke. A single lot for all companies is going to do nothing to enhance my Vegas experience. It will make my rentals less convenient and the last time I checked the total tax rate to rent a car at the airport was 27%.  To answer your question tax the visitors but not to the point of keeping us away.  Gary Miller

* Wow!! That is a tough one! First, we can ask who will be helped by an airport monorail. Not - the airport shuttle buses. Not - the taxis and limousine services transporting to and from the airport.  Maybe Yes: Maybe No - the car rental outfits.  Maybe Yes: Maybe No - any casino/hotel or hotel not on or near the monorail route.  Yes - any casino/hotel or hotel that is on or near the monorail line.  Yes - anyone who drives on the highways around or connecting to the airport.  Yes - anyone who arrives at McCarran by air due to having another transport choice. Yes - Any authority the builds and maintains the highways around or connecting to McCarran.  So, we have the Strip Casino/Hotels and their neighbors benefiting and the Highways both Interstate and local benefiting. The travelers will benefit but the will be the ones paying for it in the long run.  So, the Strip Casino/Hotels and their neighbors along with local, state and interstate highway departments all have the vested interest in having the monorail extension built. They will all gain due to increased income or decreased need for road improvement and maintenance. How, to do that without a new tax is the big question. Maybe, Nevada should allow the strip casinos to divert some of their taxes to the monorail or give them some incentive to help fund it. A small temporary airport tax (maybe a dollar per head wouldn't hurt) would provide the extra funds (the airport has roads too that need maintenance and improvement). But, the potential of an extra 50,000 to 100,000 riders a day would certainly make the monorail a truly viable transportation alternative.  Adrienne & Bill Sheneman

*  I believe that a tax ( which can be hidden ) can help pay for the monorail system so critically needed, in the way of user fees to be appropriate with the transporting of customers. Utilizing of the monorail system, we may be jeopardizing taxi drivers jobs but decreasing traffic congestion. So it's always a tough call. Maybe too Las Vegas needs to look at a ring road! But as in Miami the monorail is definitely a plus for the ever increasing traffic and population influx.  Lisa Calgary, Alberta

*  I'd accept the tax if it goes toward maintenance/upkeep of the current system but have a real problem with a tax on an extension that probably won't ever materialize.  Joanne K

The Monorail is a "Joke"!  Michael O'Brien  Butte, MT

* No, not directly. I don't think it would be wise, mainly because you would be hurting your main source of revenue. I feel the best way is to tax the casino's based on visitor use. The hotels could apply the tax indirectly to their paying guest through room rental and food tab increases without their knowledge.  This way your tourist or visitor trade would still help in footing the bill, without realizing it. I also think the good people of Nevada should help since it will directly add income to the state's revenue coffers as guest visit your state. If I am aware that as a visitor I am being charged an extra tax for visiting, I tend to shun those states, as in TN and Fl. and their high hotel taxes imposed on visitors. Just a thought.  Frank Davis

I feel that it should not be placed on visitors hotel rooms. If we decide to rent a car when we go there why should we be liable for paying when we will not be using the monorail.  Theresa  Bloomsburg  PA

* Absolutely, visitors should be taxed for it, they will solely be the ones using coming from the airport. John Pastore

I believe the answer to this weeks question requires that more be considered than just how to pay for expansion of the monorail. First, it is very difficult to avoid wondering when or if it will ever function in a fully reliable manner. Thus far at best it has been something of hit and miss proposition with more down time than up time. Second, who really would benefit from it? Obviously some casinos, their affiliated in-house restaurants and shopping arcades, and those individuals who would actually ride it. Third, there are some who may very well be hurt by the expansion of the monorail. These would include cab drivers, shuttle drivers, existing bus system, and all those casinos, restaurants and other facilities not within a very short distance to stops. In many cases combined walks to and from the designated monorail stops compared to simply walking to where you wish to go show little if any gain from using the monorail. In many cases you would be better off just walking directly or taking the bus which is often more convenient and cheaper. No, adding a special tax to my room charge would not deter me from making my usual two to four visits to Las Vegas per year, but it would be an irritant. Odds are probably better than 2 to 1 that once such a tax were imposed solely to "pay for expansion" it would somehow morph into something of a permanent feature. Instead, I suggest financing be via a bond issue voted on by local citizens. If they wish to pay for it, great. If they do not see enough benefits to be gained from it for them to back the costs of construction that too would be fine with me and I suspect the many millions of us who love visiting Las Vegas.  Arno Haecker  San Antonio, Texas


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