Though they could end up competing for the same clientele, representatives of the Las Vegas Monorail and a company that wants to build an underground people mover system are forging a relationship.
The Elon Musk-owned Boring Co. plans to build a $55 million, 0.83-mile tunnel linking the different expo halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Part of the tunnel would run underneath existing columns of the monorail’s track, which initially caused some concern among monorail officials.
“There are portions of their station that is in the vicinity of some of our existing columns, so we were concerned about how testing or the construction of that might impact us,” Jennifer Lazovich, a lobbyist for the Las Vegas Monorail, told Clark County officials in July.
Since then, however, representatives from the two companies have been in contact and have come to understand each other’s needs in relation to the convention center area.
“They came here a few weeks ago,” Curtis Myles, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Monorail Co., said in early September in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Long-term plans could include the Boring Co. stretching underground along the resort corridor, possibly linking to near Allegiant Stadium or the location many believe the monorail needs to reach, McCarran International Airport.
If that were to occur, Myles isn’t sure of the effect on the monorail’s operations
“I’m an economist by education, taught it at the university level for some while and I’ve been in transportation for 30-something years and I will tell you today, I don’t know what it’s going to do,” he said. “It could help us. The one thing that we do that the other modes of transportation don’t do is we can continue to meet the trip times, no matter how much traffic is on the road, because we’re above it.”
The Boring Co. model also would avoid traffic by moving in underground tunnels, but Myles said the monorail still has a leg up.
“We’ll put 220-230 people in a train at a time, every four minutes,” he said. “The advantage we have over them is that they can’t do that number in that same time frame. Theoretically, they can do a lot, but until it gets built you really don’t know.”
Boring Co. officials, who declined to comment on their relationship and possible coexistence with the Las Vegas Monorail, estimate they could funnel between 12,000 and 15,000 passengers per hour through the tunnels, operating 100 vehicles at a time. The system would use three models of Tesla vehicles, including a 16-seat tram fitted on a Tesla chassis.
With the growth in population of the Las Vegas Valley and the continued rise in visitors each year, having multiple transportation modes will be important, Myles said.
“You’re going to need everything,” he said. “If the town is going to continue to rely on tourism and I don’t think that is changing anytime soon … there isn’t one thing … It will be everything that continues to make things move forward.
“You’ve gotta do everything and know that not everything you do is actually going to happen.”