Elon Musk’s tunneling company, the Boring Company, has received permission to expand its operations beneath Las Vegas. The city council unanimously approved the company’s plan to dig more tunnels under the city, following a similar approval from Clark County earlier this year. The plan includes building 68 miles of tunnels and 81 stations, with Tesla electric vehicles transporting three passengers at a time.
Although the approval was unanimous, Mayor Carolyn Goldman expressed several concerns, including safety, passenger capacity, and accessibility. However, she mentioned that hotels are eager for more transportation options.
The Boring Company originated from Musk’s frustration with a traffic jam in 2016. He decided that underground tunnels could solve the problem, drawing inspiration from sources like Mad Magazine and the Usborne Book of the Future.
Originally, Musk envisioned high-speed trains in near-vacuum tunnels, known as the Hyperloop. In 2017, he even claimed to have government approval for a tunnel between Washington, DC, and New York City, with a travel time of just 29 minutes.
In 2018, Ars witnessed the Boring Company’s progress firsthand when they visited a 1.1-mile test tunnel in Los Angeles. However, the plans had shifted away from maglev trains and mass transit. Instead, they used Tesla Model X cars driving at 45 mph.
Musk continued to attract attention, persuading Chicago to commission a tunnel between downtown and O’Hare International Airport. This time, electric pods were supposed to carry 16 passengers at speeds of up to 125 mph every 30 seconds.
The Boring Company’s plans gradually scaled back from maglev trains to high-speed pods and eventually to regular Teslas with human drivers, resulting in decreased interest.
Las Vegas, however, remained interested. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved a 2.2-mile loop beneath the convention center, which opened in 2021 with three stations. The Boring Company claims to have transported 1.15 million passengers so far, with a peak capacity of 4,500 people per hour. In comparison, traditional subway systems carry between 600 and 1,000 passengers per train.
If the Boring Company completes this project, 60 stations would be in Clark County, mainly along the Las Vegas Strip and major casinos, while the remaining 21 would be in the city of Las Vegas itself.