The underground rapid transit system being built beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center will expand into the tourist corridor and beyond, predict both the convention authority CEO and the head of the company digging the tunnels.
In separate public appearances last week, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill and Steve Davis, president of Elon Musk’s Boring Co., said the tunnels currently under construction will be stepping off points for a larger network that could extend into residential areas.
“We hope to see that expand into both the resort corridor and then out into the community,” Hill said at a forum put on by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. “We see this as a great opportunity for Las Vegas — but really a great opportunity for a number of cities across the country — to solve congestion problems and do it in a very affordable way."
The Boring Co. has a $52.5-million contract with the convention authority to deliver twin, nearly mile-long adjoining tunnels linking the existing convention center complex with the under-construction West Hall. It will use Teslas to move 4,400 people an hour under the 200-acre convention center campus in what the company calls its Loop system
Davis, the Boring Co. president, told a Las Vegas business group that deals to expand the system will be ready to go should the convention center phase prove a success.
“We’re always in discussion with everyone who might be interested,” he told the Nevada chapter of the American Public Works Association. “We’ll have lots of talks … and if it goes well, everything’s teed up.”
The convention center project, with a deadline of early next year and clearly defined goals, provides a proof of concept test that, according to Davis, will decide the future of the company.
“We’re going to build the Loop at the convention center and one of two things will happen. Either everyone will hate it, and we’ll go out of business — option two, everyone loves it and we expand.
“So where do you expand? There are some very obvious places to expand. Down Las Vegas Boulevard is super obvious. North into the city of Las Vegas. Into the airport,” and into the suburbs, Davis said.
Neither provided thoughts on how the expansion would be financed, but Hill said, “The math on this makes a lot of sense.”
“In the resort corridor here, for example, the Boring Co. is going to make a lot of profit, I think,” Hill said. “When we move out into the suburbs and into the communities, there’s probably going to need to be some level of subsidization to allow people to have equal access to that kind of technology and that kind of mobility.”
Robert Lang, an urban planning expert and director of the Brookings Mountain West think tank at UNLV, said he was “ready to watch and wait.”
“Right now it’s the convention authority taking the risk on an unproven technology,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll know right away; if it does, we get a double bonus — a new mobility option and Las Vegas becomes a leader in a very exciting industry.”
The convention center work is the first commercial project for the Boring Co. Its roots go back to a 2016 tweet by Musk, who is also co-founder and CEO of Tesla.
“Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging. It shall be called ‘The Boring Company,’” Musk wrote.
Neither the Boring Co. nor the convention authority responded to requests for additional comment.
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