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Resorts World Vegas Loop connection is a short trip, but a big step

Updated July 11, 2022 - 5:20 am

Although it’s a short distance across Las Vegas Boulevard, the recently opened Vegas Loop link connecting the Las Vegas Convention Center to Resorts World is a big deal.

When first floated, Elon Musk’s Boring Co.’s plan to shuttle passengers underground via Tesla model vehicles was doubted. Many critics believed the initial plan to shuttle passengers between the convention center’s West, Central and South halls wouldn’t come to fruition.

Well it did, and the $47 million experiment paid for by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority thus far is working.

The Convention Center loop has been in operation about a year-and-a-half and has seen over 700,000 passengers, as noted during a June Las Vegas City Council meeting when the downtown link for the project was approved.

The Resorts World link travels only between the resort and the convention center for now, but it marks the first of 55 planned stations up and down the Strip and into downtown.

It also marks the first portion of the loop system that features a fare. Riders can opt for a single ride for $1.50 or a day pass for $2.50. Rides between the three convention center stations are free.

Looking further out, Boring President Steve Davis said last month that a ride from the Fremont Street Experience downtown to Harry Reid International Airport would cost about $12 and take eight or nine minutes.

Boring will collect the revenue generated from the system, with quarterly payments made to the city and Clark County.

During stress tests in May 2021 conducted by an independent contractor, the Convention Center Loop hit its target of 4,400 passengers per hour. At full buildout, the Vegas Loop is expected to be able to handle up to 57,000 passengers per hour.

Boring will pay for digging the tunnel system, with the cost of each station borne by the location’s owners. Davis said at last month’s City Council meeting that the cost of a station can range from $1.5 million to $20 million, depending on the style chosen.

Plans call for building out the underground transit system in phases, then linking them together.

Different phases are in various stages of the permitting process. The Tropicana Loop on the south end of the Strip, including an Allegiant Stadium station, the Caesars Loop for Caesars Entertainment properties located along the central Strip area, and an offshoot location at the Westgate are all in the works.

There is no exact timeframe for when any of those will become operational, but LVCVA CEO and President Steve Hill said in May he expects portions to be open sometime next year.

As far as the entire system is concerned, its future is linked to the Las Vegas Monorail.

When the LVCVA purchased the Monorail in 2020, it was noted that the system would need $200 million in upgrades within eight to 10 years. Hill said then that the LVCVA would not be interested in investing that amount of money in the 3.9-mile monorail system, which has its limitations.

So expect to see full buildout of the Vegas Loop completed before that time hits.

And unlike the Monorail, the Vegas Loop will be a point-to-point system, so passengers can travel from one point to another without having to stop at each station along the way.

So, while the Resorts World connection seems like a small achievement, it is a major step toward the future of mass transit in Las Vegas.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter. Send questions and comments to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com.

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