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Las Vegas approves 68 miles of underground transportation tunnels

Updated July 21, 2023 - 2:00 pm

The Elon Musk-owned Boring Company plans to build out an underground transportation system in Las Vegas featuring 81 stations and 68 miles of tunnels, after an expansion approval.

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the Boring Co.’s plan to expand the system in the city’s jurisdiction, mainly downtown.

That addition brings the number of stations to be located within the city’s boundaries to 21. The remaining 60 would be located in Clark County’s jurisdiction, where the Boring Co.’s expansion in May was previously approved.

Stations within the city of Las Vegas would include City Hall, The Strat, Circa, Palace Station, Area 15, UNLV Medical District, Fremont Street Experience and Main Street.

The county’s portion of the system is primarily comprised of the area on and around the Strip, UNLV and Allegiant Stadium.

The Vegas Loop is a point-to-point transportation system that moves passengers in Tesla model vehicles in a series of tunnels.

“It’s not like a subway where you stop at a bunch of stops along the way,” said attorney Stephanie Allen, of law firm Kaempfer Crowell, who spoke on Boring Company’s behalf. “It goes directly from Point A to Point B and saves a lot of time in doing so.”

The only portion of the Vegas Loop in operation is centered on the Las Vegas Convention Center. There are three stations between three main expo halls at the facility, with an offshoot to Resorts World also open. Two other links to the convention center are in the construction phase — one to the Encore and the other to the Westgate.

The convention center loop has been operational for about two years and has seen 1.2 million passengers over that span. The highest daily capacity of the system during that time is 32,000 riders.

When work on the loop outside of the convention center will begin remains to be seen.

Plans are for the system to be built in phases, then later connected to create a seamless transportation option from the south Strip to downtown. Each property will pay for their prospective stations, while the Boring Co. will foot the bill for the cost to build out the tunnel system. Boring Co. also will operate the line once it’s open and will charge a varying fee, dependent on the length of trip.

The first section likely to be constructed under the Strip will be the Tropicana section, which will include Allegiant Stadium, resorts near Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue and UNLV.

“I don’t know that there’s anything more than they’re continuing to work on a number of different lines,” Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “There’s been no landmark obstacle that has been overcome.”

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman isn’t sure the project will ever come to fruition, but voted in favor of the extension anyway, due to the urging of the various resorts and other entities in downtown.

“I am one who just does not believe will come to be, certainly not in my lifetime,” Goodman said during Wednesday’s meeting. “Hopefully in the lifetime forthcoming. Moving three and four people at a time does not get this on … I want more accessibility, I want to move people more easily and I’d like it to happen immediately, because we need that movement of people now.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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