Musk Is Expanding His Vegas Tunnel Network

It's not quite as futuristic as it sounds
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2023 4:10 PM CDT
Musk Is Expanding His Vegas Tunnel Network
A Tesla car drives through a tunnel in the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

Elon Musk's Boring Company has received approval to expand its "Vegas Loop" system, adding 18 stations to bring the total to 69, per the Verge. The goal of the tunnel system is to alleviate road traffic. Unfortunately, it's not as futuristic as it sounds. Instead of high-speed shuttles, riders are transported in Teslas driven by humans, often driving below 30 mph. And while the expansion in Las Vegas represents a vote of confidence in Musk's vision, it also highlights the discrepancy between the promised hyperloop and the actual system being implemented.

Boring had to demonstrate the ability to move 4,400 passengers per hour to get an expansion permit for the tunnel. TechCrunch reported in 2020 that the system is likely only capable of carrying 1,200 people per hour—a quarter of the promised capacity. That's not good news for Boring, as not meeting capacity goals could cause hefty fines. Still, Boring will finance the tunnels, while the casinos and hotels will fund the stations. The success of the Vegas Loop will depend on the company's ability to improve upon traditional tunneling methods and offer a faster, cheaper, and more efficient alternative to above-ground transportation options.

This is a development that will bear watching because Boring hasn't had the best track record with other cities. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported in November 2022 that the Tesla co-founder's tunneling endeavor had "ghosted" cities across the US, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Ontario, California. And on May 1, the San Antonio, Texas, Current reported that while Boring—which is based in the Austin area—struck a deal with the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority to dig a hyperloop, it hasn't communicated with the RMA for five months. (More The Boring Company stories.)

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