Dig it: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. gets tapped for Chicago project

Mae Love
June 17, 2018

Thursday the mayor and the billionaire who wants to build the "Tesla Tunnel" were talking details. But the Chicago Tribune cited comments from Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the decision to go with Musk's bid. None got very far - because of the cost, the shortage of money for other needed transit projects, and basic logistics: the Blue Line has too many stations and sharp curves and the like to provide truly fast service.

The futuristic-looking electric skates - battery-powered, zero-emission vehicles - are modeled after the Tesla Model X SUV, according to Boring Company.

The transport time will take 12 minutes, compared to 40 minutes by train and around 80 minutes by vehicle. "Getting from the city to O'Hare or back from O'Hare to the city is a race against time".

Announcing the agreement Wednesday night, Adam Collins, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the journey will take approximately 12 minutes.

"It will take longer to get through security at O'Hare than it will take to get to O'Hare", Emanuel predicted.

Currently, Boring has been digging the Los Angeles tunnels, and according to the company, these tunnels are smaller than ordinary tunnels, and so the cost could be a little bit less.

The Chicago project generally would use already existing "electric skate" technology, though it would link them together in a form and length that is unique to this country.

We have no word about the exact cost of the project, but we know that Elon Musk is footing the bill. What if O'Hare-bound travelers prefer the Blue Line, which costs only $5 and is in the midst of a revamp that will make it faster? It does require city council approval, and there will be public hearings in the months ahead.

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Musk, who has had an embattled relationship with his critics in the press as of late, said "There is a role for doubters". The trip is expected to last only 12 minutes with pods traveling more than 100 miles per hour. A taxi ride now can take as much as an hour or more with traffic. For Delta Pilot David Panklov, renderings of the "Tesla-in-a-tunnel" high speed service to O'Hare from the Loop couldn't become a reality soon enough.

Chicago in March shortlisted Boring and O'Hare Xpress LLC, a consortium that included a company that designed a terminal London's Heathrow Airport, according to Bloomberg.

Now, it looks like the Boring Co. could be on the way toward breaking ground in another location: Chicago.

A news conference is scheduled for later Thursday to discuss the plans.

The system will include 16-passenger vehicles called "skates" that will travel up to 150 mph (240 km per hour) through a tunnel.

Fares would amount to $20 to $25 a ride, the Tribune reported.

So forgive Chicagoans if they're skeptical of financing promises - and of bullet cars speeding underground when that technology remains unproven.

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