Casinos support cargo hub

Some heavy hitters came to bat on the cargo hub issue at the last Reno City Council meeting of the year. But they struck out.

R&R Partners Vice President Greg Ferraro, speaking on behalf of the Nevada Resort Association, was one of many business leaders discouraging the council from passing a resolution in favor of impact studies on the proposed hub.

Ferraro, whose clients have included the airport and the local billboard industry, gave council members dire predictions for Reno if the U.S. Postal Service chooses another airport. He employed some of the same rhetoric casinos used against state Sen. Joe Neal’s petition to raise the casino tax.

“If you sit back and allow the process of opportunities to be delayed, then I think that’s tantamount to a death call,” he warned.

Ferraro was visibly upset after Reno Councilwoman Sherrie Doyle questioned him about a private conversation he had with another council member, in which Ferraro reportedly asked for a two-week delay in the council’s decision. Doyle was ordered to refrain from further questioning by Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin, who said the conversation might not have been accurately relayed to Doyle.

Moments later, sotto voce, Ferraro told another casino lobbyist: “She is dead with gaming.”

The council narrowly approved the resolution to the understandable dismay of shipping industry leaders. But why does the Nevada Resort Association care so deeply about the hub?

Some of the organization’s northern members are concerned with the Reno airport’s continued economic viability, Nevada Resort Association President Bill Bible told the RN&R. The cargo hub would keep the airport’s landing fees at a fixed cost. That will be helpful in retaining the passenger planes, Bible theorized.

"As far as I’m concerned, it’s over," Ferraro said in a phone interview Tuesday.