Despite receiving some pushback from two board members of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, The Boring Company has nevertheless secured a contract to build a transport tunnel under the LVCA’s campus. The project, which was approved following a vote by the LVCA’s board on Wednesday, will be comprised of two tunnels that are designed to transport passengers from the LVCA campus’ New Exhibit Hall to the existing North/Central Hall.
The Boring Company’s Las Vegas tunnel is expected to be completed in time for the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held in January. Elon Musk has expressed his optimism at the project’s potential completion date, stating on Twitter that the transport tunnel could be operational by the end of 2019. This is a very aggressive timetable, though the relatively short length of the tunnel at less than one mile could improve the Boring Company’s chances at completing the project within Musk’s target timeframe.
The Las Vegas transport tunnel will utilize a Loop System, which is comprised of autonomous electric vehicles (AEV) that can carry passengers from one point to another. The Boring Company notes that standard AEVs are Tesla Model X and Model 3 vehicles, though high-occupancy AEVs are also under development. The latter utilizes a modified Model X chassis that is capable of transporting up to 16 passengers with both sitting and standing room. Provided that The Boring Company could complete the Las Vegas transport tunnel without delays, test runs in the system could begin as early as November 2020, according to the project’s public contract.
In its vote on Wednesday, the LVCA granted a $48.6 million contract to the tunneling startup, though the total project is estimated to cost around $52.5 million. Two-thirds of the total funding for the project will not be released to the tunneling startup until the transport tunnel is complete. Previous reports also hinted that if the Boring Company is unable to receive a certificate of occupancy for the transport tunnel, the LVCA will get back its entire investment.
While the Boring Company was able to secure the Las Vegas contract, the tunneling startup’s proposal still met some pushback from two board members of the LVCA. In recent weeks, board members Michele Fiore and Carolyn Goodman argued against the Boring Company’s proposal, citing the startup’s inexperience. The two board members suggested that the LVCA adopt the proposal of Austria-based Doppelmayr Garaventa Group instead, which will create an above-ground transit system that would cost around $215 million to complete.