Las Vegas City Council Welcomes Elon Musk’s Boring Co. Underground People Mover Proposal

Posted on: December 17, 2020, 09:57h. 

Last updated on: December 17, 2020, 01:17h.

The Las Vegas City Council this week signed off on allowing Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. to advance its proposal to build an underground tunnel network below the city. If it one day comes to reality, it will finally be the link from the Strip casinos to downtown’s expanding gaming footprint that many city officials have spent years yearning for.

Las Vegas Loop Boring tunnel Musk
The City of Las Vegas has welcomed The Boring Co.’s wishes to bring its underground Loop to downtown. (Image: The Boring Company)

During Wednesday’s meeting, officials from Boring unveiled initial plans to extend its underground people mover from the Las Vegas Convention Center north to the city.

Within the city limits, the so-called “Vegas Loop” would run north from Sahara Avenue underneath Las Vegas Blvd. The tunnel system would turn left at Fremont Street Experience and run west to Main Street, where it would then turn south back to Las Vegas Blvd.

Boring Co. President Steve Davis told the council that “zero public dollars” would be required to build the infrastructure.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) first brought Boring to town. The tourism agency awarded Musk’s company a $52.5 million contract to build the Convention Center Loop, an underground people mover that will whisk convention attendees across the complex below the ground in fully autonomous Tesla Model 3 and Model X vehicles. The network is ready to go once conventions return.

Strip Not in City

With the Boring Co.’s Loop finding favor among Las Vegas city officials, the company turns to Clark County. The Strip isn’t actually in the City of Las Vegas, but an incorporated part of Clark County.

Boring wants to extend its tunnel network from the Convention Center up and down the Strip, including a westward segment that would connect the system to the Palms and Orleans casinos and south to Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL Las Vegas Raiders. Future plans envision the Loop connecting to McCarran International Airport.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a quicker people mover network was needed, as Las Vegas and the Strip has little public transportation.

During typical peak hours, driving from the Las Vegas Convention Center to Mandalay Bay, for example, can take up to 30 minutes,” The Boring Co. explained. “The same trip on Vegas Loop will take approximately three minutes.”

The Clark County Commission will consider the Loop project at its February meeting.

Mayor Happy

The LVCVA recently completed its $24.26 million acquisition of the Las Vegas Monorail Company out of bankruptcy. The purchase allows the Authority to remove a non-compete the 3.9-mile Monorail held on any new public transportation project on the east side of the Strip.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (D) is an LVCVA board member. She opposed the agency buying the Monorail on grounds that the elevated electric transit system only serves the Strip, not downtown. However, the elimination of the non-compete will allow Boring to move forward with its city and Strip link.

Boring says the Loop from Sahara to downtown and back will cost between $35 million and $45 million. Musk’s firm will cover that cost, and any casino downtown that wants the Loop to stop at its property will be on the hook for the station budget.

Goodman was one of the unanimous “yes” votes during this week’s City Council decision on the downtown Loop.