Las Vegas officials bet big on Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Boring Company will soon be tunneling its way beneath Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority voted on Wednesday to award the Boring Company a $48.6 million contract to build the LVCC Loop, a high-speed subterranean transportation system designed to whisk people around the giant Las Vegas Convention Center — one of the largest such centers in the world.

Used year-round for a multitude of trade shows and conventions that include tech-focused CES, the system will connect the eastern edge of the convention complex’s South Hall with the LVCC New Exhibit Hall, according to Bloomberg.

The mile-long route will include three stations, one of which will serve the center’s central and north exhibit halls. Up to 16 passengers at a time will be transported inside large electric vehicles with a chassis based on the Model X design built by Tesla, another Musk-owned company.

Construction is due to begin as early as this September with a completion date slated for December 2020, in time for the CES bash in January 2021.

Musk’s long-term ambition is to build networks of high-speed transportation tunnels spanning entire cities in a bid to ease traffic congestion at street level. It won’t surprise you to know that he came up with the idea while stuck in a traffic jam in Los Angeles, in 2016.

The plan envisages vehicles and passenger pods being lowered onto electric-powered sleds from street level via an elevator system, though the elevators could ultimately connect to office buildings or even private residences, too. At the end of last year the company showed off its very first tunnel, complete with modified Model X cars whizzing along a mile-long test track.

Besides helping to take cars off the streets, the Boring Company is also focused on creating more efficient boring machines to help lower the cost of projects that need to use such equipment.

While some city officials have shown genuine interest in the idea, several proposed projects have been slowed down by regulatory assessments. There have been more serious setbacks along the way, too, including in November 2018 when the Boring Company was forced to abandon plans for a proposed tunnel after residents in a Los Angeles suburb protested against the idea.

While the Vegas project is nowhere near as big as the one Musk has in mind for the entire city of Los Angeles, if successful it has the potential to provide the Boring Company with a launch pad for far more ambitious projects around the country and possibly beyond.

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