Musk's Boring Company Wins Bid to Build High-Speed System in Chicago

Musk's Boring Company Wins Bid to Build High-Speed System in Chicago

Entrepreneur Elon Musk said Thursday a high-speed transportation system that will whisk people between downtown Chicago and O'Hare International Airport at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour could be operational in about three years. USA cities are looking for alternatives to overcrowded highways and impossibly expensive subways. The plan, which still requires regulatory approvals, will be formally announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago past year called for proposals for the project which include designing, building, funding, operating, and to maintain the O'Hare Express operating system via a public-private agreement with the city. That said, with his other companies, Musk has "been able to pursue and fulfil visions that others say are too hard", Mahmassani added. The final destination will be at a new $8.5 billion global terminal Emmanuel has announced for O'Hare. Thursday morning at Block 37 Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin said they're still ironing out the completion date with The Boring Company. The company is digging a test tunnel near the Hawthorne, California headquarters of SpaceX.

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

Some are skeptical such a project will be built.

The proposed link will shuttle eight to 16 passengers on "skate" electric vehicles in an underground loop between the airport and the Block 37 development in downtown Chicago. Several above-ground stations in the city will also needed, although the city will provide rights for underground construction. Boring Co. will finance the entire construction cost itself.

The whole setup has provoked skepticism. Engineers promise. But it'll be an enormous project.

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Also, it's not clear if the benefits of the airport connection would justify the costs. The city says it will ensure taxpayers are firewalled from costs linked to an incomplete project - we'd love to see that in writing. "I mean it's cheaper than an Uber, cheaper than driving your auto and parking so definitely anything we can get is an improvement especially with the city's proposal for expanding O'Hare", said Blue Line rider Nick Assaloni. The projected cost? $20 to $25 one way.

In May, Musk said a tunnel built under a Los Angeles suburb to test a transportation system was nearly complete and that the public would be offered free rides in a few months.

"Nothing is impossible, but all of it is very hard", he said, noting that today's technologies are not up to the job.

"We have a tremendous opportunity", Emanuel said.

Of course, for any of this to work, Boring's drilling technology has to work, the firm needs to attract investment capital and the project needs to clear a series of legal and environmental hurdles.

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