Elon Musk’s proposed Vegas strip transit system to get city council vote

Sarah McBride

Elon Musk’s tunneling company Boring Co. is already building a transit system for Las Vegas convention-goers. Now, he wants to build one for the rest of the city.

On Wednesday, the Las Vegas City Council is set to vote on plans to dramatically expand Musk’s Loop project from a convention center transit system to a citywide network that would include hotels and, one day, potentially even the airport.

The proposed expansion brings the tunnel-based transportation system as far north as Ogden Avenue, near attractions such as the Downtown Container Park and classic casinos like the Golden Nugget. Proposed stops en route include the Arts District and the Stratosphere tower, the spaceship-like landmark that is part of a hotel. The precise location of stations will be determined later in the process, according to documents submitted to the council.

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., speaks during an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.

Wednesday's vote is a crucial first step in Boring Co.'s Las Vegas tunnel expansion. If the council grants approval, the next step is a more detailed city staff review of the plans for the Loop, which whisks passengers underground using Tesla vehicles. The company would also need to return to the city council for approval of a franchise agreement the ability to use a right-of-way corridor before construction could actually begin.

The cost of the main portion of the tunnel that falls within city limits is estimated at $35 million to $45 million, according to the documents. Officials at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which originally brought the project to the city, have said that Boring Co. will cover the cost of building the main artery of the Loop. Hotels that want Loop stations will be responsible for paying those costs, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

Boring Co. also has big plans for areas that sit outside of the boundary of the city of Las Vegas, but include well-trafficked destinations such as the bulk of the Las Vegas Strip, Allegiant Stadium and possibly McCarran International Airport, if authorities there agree.

Those plans, which include two separate routes, need approval by Clark County, whose commissioners will review the company’s applications in February.

Earlier this year, Boring Co. completed tunnels under the Las Vegas Convention Center complex. Originally, the convention center project was set to debut in time for CES, the annual consumer electronics show, but that event will now take place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The county commission in August approved plans from two hotels, the Wynn Las Vegas and Resorts World Las Vegas, to use Boring Co. tunnels to connect their properties to the convention center Loop.

If approved to its full proposed length, the Vegas Loop will run for about 15 miles, about 10 miles in Clark County and 5 miles in the City of Las Vegas, according to city spokesman David Riggleman.