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LVCVA enables Boring to proceed with underground transit system

The Boring Co., Elon Musk’s tunnel-burrowing subsidiary that hopes to build a valleywide underground transit system, received the clearance it needs to proceed Thursday.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s board of directors approved the elimination of a non-compete zone for the Las Vegas Monorail, which will allow Boring to develop a 15-mile network of tunnels that would link Strip and downtown Las Vegas resorts with McCarran International Airport and Allegiant Stadium.

Boring plans to build the system at its own expense with stations paid for by resorts that want them. Boring would then operate the system but the company hasn’t indicated what fares would be or how much it expects to invest in the system.

Last month, Clark County commissioners voted to turn the Monorail’s franchise agreement over to the LVCVA as soon as it took possession of the system. That occurred Wednesday.

“I think this will go down in Las Vegas’ history as an important step in, not only transportation infrastructure, but in allowing Las Vegas to take that next step forward to have a system in our city and up and down the resort corridor and hopefully out into the community at some point,” LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill said, adding that the system would be “ groundbreaking, cutting-edge and an attraction in and of itself.”

“I think it is a very Las Vegas project and we’re thrilled to be a part of it and look forward to the next steps.”

Board members voted 12-1 in favor of eliminating the non-compete zone with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman casting the lone vote in opposition. Goodman has opposed acquiring the Monorail since it was first proposed, criticizing it for not being extended to McCarran or downtown Las Vegas.

At Thursday’s meeting, she also was critical of enabling Boring to undertake its project without the LVCVA issuing a request for proposals or competitive bidding.

Representatives of Boring did not respond to a request for comment and didn’t participate in the meeting.

The non-compete zone was located on the east side of the Strip between Sahara and Tropicana avenues. The Boring system, which the company is calling the Vegas Loop, traverses a portion of the zone.

The LVCVA became a part of the process when it took possession of the Monorail. The $24.26 million acquisition of the Monorail and $20.5 million in bond funding closed on Wednesday.

While taking possession of the non-compete agreement was a major reason for acquiring the Monorail, the LVCVA still plans to operate the 3.9-mile electric transportation system when there’s enough visitor demand to make it feasible.

Hill told board members at their scheduled December meeting Tuesday that he hopes the Monorail could reopen in May prior to the Memorial Day weekend and the rescheduled World of Concrete trade show, which is slated to open June 8.

When the Monorail is restarted, a company known as Western Management Group will operate it. The LVCVA board in October voted 12-1 for Western to manage the day-to-day operation of the system for an amount not to exceed $500,000. Several former Las Vegas Monorail Co. executives, including President and CEO Curtis Myles, will now work for Western.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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