The Tesla people mover began operating in Las Vegas this week in time for the World of Concrete convention. The only people allowed to use it are convention-goers and convention staff members.
Following an education session on Monday, the World of Concrete trade show opened Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, just east of the Strip. This is the first major trade show in the nation since the March 2020 onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Las Vegas tourism officials hope it will help the local casino economy recover from a pandemic-related slump.
As part of that recovery effort, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has touted its new $1 billion West Hall at the Convention Center and $52.5 million Tesla people mover by Elon Musk’s The Boring Co.
On Monday, officials said the only people who can use the underground Tesla system for the convention are attendees with official badges, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Convention Center staff also will be allowed to ride in the Teslas.
The intent of the 1.7-mile underground tunnel system is to move attendees from different sites at the convention center, officials said.
As many as 60,000 people attended pre-pandemic World of Concrete events in Las Vegas, according to the organization’s website. This year’s number of attendees has not been released.
Conventions are considered important in filling up Las Vegas hotel rooms, especially during the slower middle of the week.
“Trade show and convention delegates spend more while they’re here than leisure visitors, and they do it Monday through Thursday, when we need it most,” said Valentine Valentine, president and CEO of the Nevada Resort Association. The association is the casino industry’s lobbying arm.
Las Vegas Raiders On Board
Plans are in place to expand the Tesla tunnels beyond the Convention Center.
The Boring Co. has entered into an agreement with local governments to build a 15-mile “Vegas Loop” to include hotel-casinos and attractions.
Plans are underway to built a tunnel to Encore Las Vegas and Resorts World Las Vegas. Encore is on the east side of the Strip. Resorts World, a $4.3 billion hotel-casino on the west side of the resort corridor, was built at the location of the now-demolished Stardust Casino. Resorts World opens June 24. The people mover will not be connected to the resort by then.
The Las Vegas Raiders also have been in discussions to connect Allegiant Stadium to the underground Tesla network. The off-Strip, 65,000-seat stadium is just west of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Raiders President Marc Badain told the newspaper the organization will make space for a Tesla station “as soon as they’re ready to tell us” where it should be located.
“We’ll make the space for it,” Badain said. “I think it really depends on how it connects to the rest of the Strip, to the airport and the rest of the community where they’re building the entire tunnel system.”
Critics Sound Off
The Elon Musk project has had detractors.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has voiced concern that this is the first time The Boring Co. has built a project like this anywhere in the world. She said she is concerned the system will not operate properly.
Globally, civil engineers have criticized Musk and his tunnel projects, according to NBC News. Tunnelling Journal, an industry publication, said the Las Vegas underground system is a mere “vanity project.”
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