Elon Musk firm tapped to build Chicago high-speed transit

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 17, 2018

Musk announced last month that it had almost finished building its first stretch of tunnel there.

The Boring Company plans to use the unfinished underground station at Block 37 and build a new station at O'Hare, connecting them with twin-bore tunnels.

"Elon Musk is looking for a place to prove his technology works, and Chicago is rolling out the red carpet for him", said Joe Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University in Chicago.

Musk also said that he hopes that the public is cheering for the project to be a success because if it is, "everybody wins" but if it is not, only his investors lose money.

Winning the nod means the city of Chicago will negotiate exclusively with Boring for one year over details of the project, which aims to connect downtown Chicago with O'Hare, about 15 miles and a $40 taxi ride away.

No taxpayer funding is involved - a sales proposition that's hard to resist.

"I believe if we are talking about bringing Chicago into the 21st century as an attractive city you have to talk about non-traditional financing avenues" and convenient travel between downtown and the airport "is consistent with being a global city", Ciccarone said.

The state of IN was forced to take over a faltering public-private road construction partnership a year ago due to the private developer's fiscal woes and Chicago has seen its share of boldly envisioned projects that have stalled.

He said he expects the company will begin digging the dual tunnels after it's received all the necessary regulatory approvals, a process he expects to take a few months.

"Before we green light a potential boondoggle, the public deserves answers about how this will be paid for, and how this supposedly entirely privately funded plan will be kept accountable to Chicagoans", Alderman Scott Waguespack, chairman of the council's Progressive Reform Caucus, said in a statement Thursday.

Chicago Transit Authority is undertaking a $492m investment to modernise the Blue Line of the metro, which now serves the airport.

Musk said fares would roughly be about half the average cab and ride-share fare.

People will travel nonstop between the Loop and O'Hare in 16-passenger vehicles called "skates", which will leave every 30 seconds, the Boring Co said. Just the fact that this is a completely new type of transportation project that hasn't been implemented in the USA creates challenges for both testing and public acceptance. The city says that 20 000 passengers a day now travel between O'Hare and the Central Business District, with this number forecast to grow to 35 000 in 2045.

An artist's rendering shows the design of an "electric skate" vehicle that the Boring Company says could travel up to 150 miles per hour and whisk passengers to and from Chicago's O'Hare Airport in minutes.

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