LAS VEGAS (CBSLA/AP) — Elon Musk’s Hawthorne-based Boring Company is being considered for a project to build an underground tunnel system in Las Vegas, similar to the one he is working on here in Los Angeles to alleviate the city’s growing traffic problems.
Las Vegas’ tourism agency announced Wednesday it is recommending that the Boring Company receive a contract to build and operate an underground tunnel system through which autonomous electric vehicles would whisk people around a mega convention center, and in the future, possibly up and down the Las Vegas Strip.
If approved, the system of just over a mile long would debut by January 2021 at the facility, which hosts more than 1 million people every year.
The Boring Company would build the project costing from $35 million to $55 million.
“It’s really innovative. I think it will be an attraction in and of itself, frankly,” Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told The Associated Press.
Details of the project have not been finalized. But Hill said the system will probably have three or four stations, each situated at entrances to the convention center’s halls. People would be carried to the hall of their choice in electric vehicles moving through parallel tunnels, each running in one direction.
The fleet could include Tesla’s Model X and Model 3 and a vehicle with capacity for about 16 people, Hill said. All vehicles would be fully autonomous, meaning they won’t have backup human drivers.
The Las Vegas Convention Center is currently undergoing an expansion. When finished, convention attendees could log about two miles walking from one end to the other. The distance led officials to look for a transportation solution.
Last December, after two years of hype and anticipation, the Boring Company unveiled a 1.14-mile-long test tunnel in Hawthorne, a prototype of Musk’s proposed underground transportation system.
The tunnel starts at Crenshaw Boulevard and 120th Street, and stretches west under 120th Street.
Under Musk’s plan, a network of underground tunnels with driverless cars or pods would shuttle passengers like electric sleds to and from multiple stations around major cities at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. At each stop there would be a lift which would avoid the construction of large and expensive stations.
Las August, Musk proposed constructing a tunnel which would run from Dodger Stadium to Hollywood. Billed as the “Dugout Loop,” the 3.6 mile all-electric underground tunnel would run from Dodger Stadium to property owned by the Boring Company near the Vermont/Sunset, Vermont/Santa Monica or Vermont/Beverly Metro Red Line stations.
The Dugout Loop would consist of “autonomous electric skates” propelled by multiple electric motors carrying eight to 16 people. The skates will travel at 125 to 150 miles per hour for a trip that will take less than four minutes and cost around $1, according to the company. It would be able to transport an estimated 1,400 people in total per event.
In late November, the Boring Company canceled plans to build a tunnel under the 405 Freeway on the L.A. Westside. The decision was part of a settlement with two community groups who sued the Boring Company and the city of L.A., alleging that the city had exempted the project from proper environmental reviews.
Musk has reiterated that the L.A. tunnels will be entirely privately financed and not require any tax money. At this point, Musk does not have a definitive timeline for when a larger network of tunnels will be built, but he’s hoping to have more built by the 2028 Olympics.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)