Elon Musk’s plan to build an express route tunnel in Las Vegas has received a major boost. The board of directors of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority granted the first approval for the proposal. This now puts The Boring Company on pole position to start the project in the coming weeks. The company says that it wants to dig a loop of underground tunnels that can carry passengers in autonomous vehicles at very high speeds. The loop would, however, cover the convention center alone. But the plan is to expand it in the long run to connect other important points in the city.
The Boring Company says that the initial phase of this project will cost between $35 million and $50 million. In addition to this, the company wants to have the transit system fully operational before the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show. However, Musk noted that there’s a chance the project could actually be completed way ahead of schedule.
It’s not the first time though that The Boring Company is planning to build these types of tunnels. Plans to build a number of tunnels in the city of Los Angeles are already in advanced stages. However, the company has run into many political challenges in some cities. In Chicago, the future of the planned transit system looks in jeopardy. The two candidates that are running for Mayor have expressed their reservations about the project. Federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot, a candidate for the Mayor’s office, has made it clear that she intends to fully stop the project. She says that the city of Chicago doesn’t need such a system at the moment.
Her opponent, Toni Preckwinkle, has also said that he doesn’t think the transit system is needed. Although he’s not planning to stop it for good, if elected, the Cook County board president has confirmed that he will hit pause on the plan until a later date. Regardless of who wins the Mayor’s office in Chicago, it’s clear that Musk’s Boring Company will have to negotiate through a tough political environment to get the plans approved. The company was planning to build a transit system to connect the O’Hare International Airport with the downtown Loop district.
Elon Musk founded the Boring Company in 2017 as a subsidiary of SpaceX. However, the company became fully independent in 2018. The Tesla CEO noted at the time that the decision to start the company was inspired by the need to solve the chronic traffic problem in Los Angeles. Since then, The Boring Company has drafted tunneling proposals for a number of cities.
Los Angeles, in particular, has been quite welcoming. There are at least three projects in the city that have already been approved by local authorities. In addition to this, the company has also submitted plans to build tunnels in Baltimore, Las Vegas, Chicago, and San Jose. The goal is to make the transit system available in many cities in the US. However, there’s some opposition no doubt. It may, therefore, take time before these tunnels become fully operational in a majority of cities around the US.