The head of Elon Musk’s tunneling company said he expects a deal to build an underground transit system through the Las Vegas resort corridor to already be “teed up,” should the current tunnel project beneath the city’s convention center prove a success.
The Boring Co. (TBC) President Steve Davis told a business group in Las Vegas on Jan. 9 that the company must first complete the Las Vegas Convention Center project on schedule by the end of the year. It also needs to deliver, he said, on the promise of using Teslas to move 4,400 people per hour with what the company calls its Loop system.
Then, he said, tourism industry stakeholders will be ready to consummate ongoing talks about expanding the system from the airport to the Strip and into downtown. “We’re always in discussion with everyone who might be interested,” he told the Nevada chapter of the American Public Works Association.
“We’ll have lots of talks … and if it goes well, everything’s teed up.”
The company began work in November on the $52.5-million project, which will link the existing Las Vegas Convention Center complex with the under-construction, 1.4-million-sq-ft West Hall.
Davis pointed to the recent Consumer Electronics show held at the convention center to illustrate how tunneling adds travel capacity without disrupting surface activity.
“We were tunneling under the main hall of the convention center,” he said, “and nobody had any idea we were there.”
When finished, TBC’s project will move people along two nearly one-mile-long, one-way tunnels in Tesla sedans and 16-passenger vehicles built off Model X chassis.
Davis said the company looks at the convention center effort, “not as a one-time project, but the first of many, many projects. We’re actually very impatient and anxious to expand quickly. To be frank, our focus is here.”
The convention center job, with its short timetable and clear deliverables, offers a highly visible test on which the company’s future hinges, Davis says.
“We’re going to build the Loop at the convention center, and one of two things will happen. Either everyone will hate it, and we’ll go out of business—option two, everyone loves it and we expand."
“So where do you expand? There are some very obvious places to expand," he said.
The larger convention center, new resorts and Allegiant Stadium, future home of the NFL’s Raiders, are expected to increase visitor volume and add to traffic congestion.
Davis said if the Boring Co.’s footprint grows in Las Vegas, he expects Southern Nevada to become a research hub for the company.
“I have a feeling that at some point we end up here with some huge swath of land in the desert, testing boring machines. Down Las Vegas Boulevard is super obvious. North into the city of Las Vegas, into the airport,” he said.
Davis said Musk, who founded the Boring Co. in 2016, wants to bring to tunneling the efficiencies of standardization and technology he has applied to Tesla, the Gigafactory and SpaceX, where Davis was once an executive. He said the Boring Co. has a moonshot goal of being able to tunnel a mile a day, but “right now it’s like a mile every six weeks.”
The convention center tunnel will be the Boring Co.’s first commercial project. The company did not respond to a request for additional comment.