Elon Musk’s Boring Company — which has been living up to its name — has received approval to expand its Las Vegas tunnels. The expansion will bring the company’s Las Vegas loop all the way to city limits.
The Boring Company envisions a final network of tunnels underneath Las Vegas’s most congested areas that will span over 54.7 kilometres long that would have over 55 stations, as presented by Las Vegas’ Executive Director of Infrastructure Mike Janssen at a city council meeting yesterday. Janssen stated that he has been working with the Boring Company on this project and further said that some of these stations would include commonly visited Las Vegas locations like Harry Reid Airport and Allegiant Stadium. Janssen further stated that the Boring Company will not be relying on taxpayer funds for the loop project, and will instead fund the project through its own money and any private land owners who are willing to pay for a station.
“Thanks to the entire team at the City of Las Vegas! Great discussion today, and [The Boring Company] is excited to build a safe, convenient, and awesome transportation system in the City,” the company tweeted.
The Boring Company first received a permit in December 2020 to begin the Vegas Loop project. In October 2021, the company received approval for the first version of the loop, which was originally slated to be only 47 km long. The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was to approve the updated Monorail Agreement (The Boring Company calls their tunnels “monorail tunnels”), and the agreement is nonexclusive, meaning any other monorail from any other transportation body can be built in Las Vegas for the next 50 years.
The Boring Company opened a pilot tunnel at the Las Vegas Convention Centre that made a 25 minute walk across the campus a 2 minute ride. While that efficiency is impressive, riders that got to test out the tunnel at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2022 were left unimpressed. Electrek reported that vehicles only cruised at 35 miles per hour, instead of the roaring 150 miles per hour that the company has discussed. Further, videos and tweets compiled by Mashable and originally posted by those using the tunnels at the trade show depicted a claustrophobic (and absolutely anxiety-inducing) traffic jam in the narrow tunnel.
I’m a massive fan of public transportation, but it sort of feels like the Boring Company is reinventing the wheel. It’s clear the United States wasn’t particularly interested in funding public transit in its heyday, opting instead for a car-based society. But the Boring Company has fallen far from its lofty ambitions in 2017, and as much as the company wants to say its tunnels aren’t a subway, they’re just a subway.