Our Opinion: Tesla the opportunity Nevada has been waiting for

Nevada is a gambling state, but we believe time will tell the Tesla Motors deal is not a gamble at all.

If the Nevada Legislature scrutinizes the deal as expected and finds a number better than 25 to 1 on a return on investment — far lower than Sandoval’s 80 to 1 estimate — it is a deal Nevada should approve.

The reality today is any multibillion dollar deal is going to take some sweetening of the pot.

Yes, it is a lot of money — upward of $1.3 billion. Yes, there is no guarantee that Tesla Motor’s $5 billion gigafactory will pay off in the long run. But, other than death and taxes, there are no guarantees in life.

But there are opportunities.

The Tesla plant brings in an estimated 22,000 jobs — 6,000-plus paying $25 an hour; those jobs, plus the construction jobs the plant would create are opportunities that may never exist again.

For at least 25 years Nevada has talked and talked about the need to diversify its tourism-reliant economy, to no avail. The Tesla project is a massive opportunity toward Nevada becoming a national leader in manufacturing. If Tesla comes to Nevada and builds its gigafactory, will other corporations look at Nevada for future development, bring more jobs and a more diverse economy to the state?

Bet on it.

If Nevada doesn’t move on this opportunity to have Northern Nevada become a hub for innovation, the region will have to continue to rely on the success of Las Vegas to draw tourists to the Silver State.

Also important to note, the incentives are performance-based — if Tesla doesn’t make good on its commitments the “incentives don’t exist,” as Steve Hill, economic development director, said. So the total cost of the deal is unknown.

So the question becomes: Will Americans be willing to buy a $35,000 Tesla Model 3, an attractive looking electric car with fuel efficiency of more than 100 miles to the gallon?

Bet on it by approving the incentive deal for Tesla. If not, another state will.


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