Vegas Loop

Vegas Loop

Wade Vandervort

A Tesla electric vehicle heads from the Las Vegas Convention Center toward Resorts World through the Vegas Loop.

The Vegas Loop is one station closer to completion after the sale of UNLV-owned land to Elon Musk’s The Boring Company received unanimous approval Friday.

At their Friday meeting, the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents gave the green light for UNLV to complete the sale of a 1.3-acre parcel near the Thomas & Mack Center, which is currently used for parking.

The Boring Company will now be able to construct a new station for the Vegas Loop on campus to connect the university with Allegiant Stadium, the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Strip.

“I’m just happy that this is finally coming to fruition,” Regent Laura Perkins said at the Business, Finance and Facilities Committee’s Thursday meeting, where the proposal was first discussed.

Plans to bring a Vegas Loop station to UNLV have been discussed since 2021, according to UNLV spokesperson Keyonna Summers.

Tyler Fairbanks, head of project development for The Boring Company, said during the Business, Finance and Facilities Committee meeting that the station would be completed as soon as late 2023.

Rides will cost $6 to $12 each and connect students to Allegiant Stadium in its initial stage, but the university is negotiating with The Boring Company to secure reduced rates for UNLV students, faculty and staff, said UNLV President Keith Whitfield during the Thursday meeting.

The availability of parking at UNLV and security for the loop station were on the minds of some regents as they discussed the proposed sale during the Thursday.

Regent Amy Carvalho raised concerns about the added demand this station would place on the university police department, but Whitfield assured her that the chief of police sees no impact on the department’s forces.

Because the loop station will be on a route that the police forces already patrol, “safety concerns are a bit lower” and the station “can be absorbed into the policing pattern on campus,” said Whitfield.

There were also worries about the loop taking away parking at a university that some committee members believe already struggles with accommodating spaces for students, faculty and staff.

“Parking is a very serious issue on campus, (but) we are not up against the limit of the parking wall at this time,” David Fromer, associate vice president for planning, construction and real estate at UNLV, said during the Thursday meeting.

Because the university will be losing 150 parking spaces and over $25,000 worth of parking revenue, they are seeking compensation from The Boring Company in this sale and are looking at other options to recover these spaces, according to Fromer.

He said they are already considering building a parking garage near Greenspun Hall that these lost 150 spaces would fit into.

The university may utilize the Vegas Loop and surrounding parking lots during game days at Allegiant Stadium as a way for Rebels and Raiders fans to park their cars in a UNLV lot and ride to the stadium. Money generated from paid parking would go back to UNLV if this is implemented, said Fromer.

Some public commenters also voiced their frustration with the project, citing concerns with the safety of Tesla vehicles and longer-than-promised travel times in the existing Vegas Loop tunnel system.

“Light rail, dedicated bus lanes or an actual subway have proven, in hundreds of municipalities and universities, to be (an) effective mass transit option,” Michael Oransky said in a written statement. “Hundreds of (electric vehicles), each requiring a driver and only able to move three or four people at a time, is objectively bad.”

The entire Vegas Loop system is expected to be finished within the next two to three years, according to Fairbanks.

Only two loop systems currently exist in Las Vegas, an almost 2-mile track with four stations at the Las Vegas Convention Center and a connector from the convention center to Resorts World. The Boring Company is in the process of fully connecting the two tracks.

The Boring Company said it won approval in 2021 from the Clark County Commission to build a 29-mile underground track that ultimately would connect 51 stations throughout the resort corridor, Allegiant Stadium and downtown near Fremont Street.

Additional stops could include Harry Reid International Airport and the Las Vegas Medical District — where UNLV’s medical campus resides — according to the document.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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