The current monorail project grew from an earlier transit venture between the MGM Grand and Bally's Hotel in 1993. That year the casinos announced a joint operation, under the name MGM Grand/Bally's, LLC, to construct a one-mile long monorail system that connected the two properties. At that time it was proposed that the project be expanded some day. The forward vision included a transportation project that eventually linked numerous hotels with the Las Vegas Convention Center.
In January 1997, state legislation was passed allowing Clark County to grant a monorail franchise for the private sector to own, operate and charge a fare for a public monorail system. The Monorail LLC requested proposals for expanding their existing system, eventually granting the project to the Las Vegas Monorail Team, assembled and coordinated by Nevada-based Liaise Corporation and made up of Bombardier Transportation and the Granite Construction Company, Gensler & Associates, Carter-Burgess, and Salomon Smith Barney.
The Las Vegas Monorail Company, which owns the new monorail, was created in May 2000 as a non-profit corporation. It acquired the original monorail system along with MGM's-Bally's Monorail, LLC. Transit System Management was created by MGM/Mirage and Park Place Entertainment and is responsible for overseeing and managing the design and day-to-day operations of the monorail. The Las Vegas Monorail Company Board of Directors is made up of five members appointed by the Governor of Nevada. MGM/Mirage and Park Place Entertainment were the two original corporations that contributed seed capital and resources to explore the feasibility of a large-scale monorail project, and to begin its initial development.
The rail line consists of nine trains each made up of four cars, for a total of 36 new Bombardier M-VI cars. Each is fully air-conditioned and utilizes a suspension and guidance subsystem to provide stable lateral support. The monorail employs an automatic train control (ATC) system that allows for driverless operation.
- Estimates indicate the monorail will carry 20 million people in its first year. It will be able to handle 4,000 passengers each way per hour.
- It operates for more than 12 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- The M-VI system is the second generation of the Mark VI monorail, one of the safest in the world. There has never been a passenger fatality or serious injury.
- The cars have the smallest footprint of any elevated transit system, with a narrow 26-inch wide running surface.
- The M-VI system is one of the most cost efficient systems in the world.
- The system meets every applicable code and safety standard for mass transit use.
Cars seat 72 passengers with comfortable space for an additional 152 standees.