Elon Musks Boring Company has been approved by local officials to build a network under Las Vegas. The system, known as the Vegas Loop, will allow passengers to ride in Teslas from and to places such as the Las Vegas Convention Center and McCarran International airport.
The Boring Company has a small version, which is 0.8-mile long, of the Teslas in Tunnels system under the Las Vegas Convention Center. It opened earlier this year. However, Musks startup suggested a huge city-wide expansion in December 2020. This is almost identical to what Clark County officials approved Wednesday.
The approved system includes 29 miles of tunnels, 51 stations and a total of 51 stations. Clark County claims that it will allow up to 57,000 passengers to use it every hour, and no taxpayer money will go to its construction. Although the Boring Company had previously stated that it would pay the cost of building the tunnels, the Boring Company said that it was willing to reimburse other businesses and hotels that need a station for their costs. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, each stop must go through its own permitting process.
There are 29 miles of tunnels, and 51 stations
Since a few years, the Boring Company has been trying to construct a network of tunnels under Las Vegas. Musk's vision of a tunnel-based transportation system has evolved over the years. Musk once imagined using sleds for transporting cars from the surface to tunnels, and back again. He also envisaged pods that would prefer cyclists and pedestrians. Some of the company's attempts to dig in other areas have failed, such as in Chicago, Los Angeles and the Northeast corridor.
The final version of the Las Vegas Convention Center's Teslas in Tunnels is actually just that. This phrase is even used by The Boring Company on its website. Although the Boring Company claims that Teslas will eventually be able to drive themselves, Musk's other company is still working on software that could do that feat. The Convention Center currently has human drivers for the Teslas.
Expanding and moving forward on plans for the "Vegas Loop." The #ClarkCounty Commissioners have approved an agreement to maintain and establish a transportation system that will run under the Las Vegas Strip. It will also be used by @AllegiantStadm & @UNLV. pic.twitter.com/2ju3xcFq7O Clark County Nevada (@ClarkCountyNV) October 20, 2021
As the Las Vegas Monorail was the only transportation provider along the main strip of resorts, an expansion beyond the Convention Center loop wasn't possible at first. The monorail company went bankrupt in 2020. The monorail was purchased by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which then ended the noncompete agreement that had prevented The Boring Company's pursuit of a larger project.
The Boring Company explains why tunnels are better than other options for transit on its website.
Roads must be 3D to solve the problem of traffic jams that can cause death and destruction. This means either tunnels or flying cars are required. Tunnels, unlike flying cars, are weatherproof and out of sight. They also won't fall on your head. Tunnels reduce the use of valuable surface land and don't conflict with existing transportation systems. An extensive network of tunnels is able to alleviate congestion in any city. No matter how big a city gets, you can add more tunnels.
The Boring Company previously provided price estimates for Vegas Loop that were somewhere between the cost of public transit and that of a taxi/ride-hailing service. The Boring Company estimates that a 5-mile trip from the airport towards the Convention Center will take approximately five minutes and cost $10. A 3.6-mile trip from Convention Center to the football stadium will take approximately four minutes and cost $6.