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Miami mayor has a look at Convention Center transit tunnels

Updated March 23, 2021 - 5:36 pm

Miami, Florida, Mayor Francis Suarez toured the Las Vegas Convention Center’s $52.5 million underground people-mover Friday and hopes a similar tunnel will help solve some of his city’s transit problems.

Suarez met with The Boring Co. founder Elon Musk to discuss tunneling beneath the Miami River to connect the Brickell Financial District with downtown Miami, possibly near the under-construction Miami Worldcenter project, a 27-acre real estate development.

“Today I had the opportunity to visit @boringcompany tunnels in Las Vegas,” Suarez said in a tweet. “After seeing the innovative & outstanding work @elonmusk & his team have done, I can’t wait to see what we can do for Miami. This will revolutionize the modern-day, transit-oriented lifestyle of our City.”

Suarez did not respond to inquiries seeking additional details about the visit. He posed in front of the drill head of the Convention Center Loop project and at a tunnel entrance at the new West Hall at the Convention Center in a tweet.

Suarez and one of Miami Worldcenter’s developers, Daniel Kodsi, CEO of the Royal Palm Cos., discussed the proposed tunnel project on the Fox Business News Channel.

Musk has said he could build a 1-mile tunnel in six months for $30 million. The Las Vegas project is the first Boring Co. commercial project and also is about 1 mile with three transit stations to move conventioneers from one end of the convention center campus to the other.

In Miami, cars would drive onto a fixed subterranean platform that would transport motorists and their vehicles through the tunnel at up to 200 miles an hour.

The Boring Co. also is exploring development of a 15-mile citywide “Vegas Loop” transit system connecting resorts and other attractions in Las Vegas’ resort corridor.

The Boring Co. still maintains control of the twin tunnels at the Convention Center while crews continue testing. No date has been set for turning the tunnels over to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board members have been invited to see the system’s underground station and the $987.1 million West Hall expansion, but the public and news media have not been allowed in the tunnels.

The 10-block-long Miami Worldcenter features 11 skyscrapers, several hotels, the new Miami Convention Center, retail stores, shops, restaurants and the new Brightline high-speed rail terminal. Miami Worldcenter is the city’s new residential, retail, hospitality, entertainment and transportation complex, billed as, “The City within the City of the Future.”

Brightline is America’s only privately owned and operated rail system. It connects Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and eventually Orlando and Tampa. Brightline service has been suspended during the pandemic but is expected to resume operations in the summer.

Brightline also is the company building a high-speed rail line between Victorville, California, and Las Vegas with eventual plans to expand the line to Palmdale, California, where it would meet the California High-Speed Rail line that would go all the way to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

A previous version of this story included an incorrect reference regarding one of Miami Worldcenter’s developers.

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

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