Elon Musk’s The Boring Company has recently won a bid to construct a multi-billion dollar rapid transit system connecting O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago.
The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, recently announced that Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, would be constructing a multi-billion dollar rapid transit link between O’Hare Airport and downtown Chicago, the Verge reports. The Boring Company claims that their technology will be capable of transporting people from O’Hare Airport to Block 37 in downtown Chicago in just 12 minutes. Given that a journey to O’Hare Airport is usually a 40-minute trip along the city’s blue line, this is an extremely bold claim.
The Boring Company plans to achieve this short transit time using electric vehicles running through two underground tunnels, the construction of which will reportedly be funded entirely by the company with no taxpayer money invested in the construction of the new system. The current plan is for Musk’s company to cover the construction fees of the transit system up front but then keep any revenue generated from passenger transit fees and in-car shopping sales and advertisements. The project is expected to cost less than $1 billion.
In an interview with the Tribune, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: “If you look at the history of Chicago … every time we’ve been an innovator in transportation, we have seized the future. I think figuring out — when time is money — how to shrink the distance between the economic and job engines of O’Hare and downtown positions Chicago as the global leader and global city in the United States.”
This will be one of the first big tests for The Boring Company, since launching 18 months ago the company’s biggest achievement has been selling flamethrowers for $500 a piece. The company is still negotiating for the rights to construct a 6.5-mile test tunnel under Los Angeles, and has received a preliminary permit to begin the development of a similar tunnel in Washington DC.
Rahm Emanuel’s office provided the following details to the Verge on what is expected for the new construction project:
Each vehicle will carry up to 16 passengers, plus their luggage, and will depart from O’Hare and from Block 37 as frequently as every 30 seconds. The Boring Company plans to charge fares below the [request for proposals] requirement that this premium service should cost less than current taxi and ride-share services. The company plans to utilize the unfinished underground transit station at Block 37 and create a new station at O’Hare. The planned route travels straight northwest from downtown following public way alignments. The specific alignment will be finalized during contract negotiation.
Hopefully, The Boring Company can deliver on their promises, unlike Musk’s other company Tesla which recently cut 9 percent of its workforce the day after the launch party for The Boring Company’s flamethrowers. In recent months Tesla has been forced to issue their largest recall ever due to a manufacturing fault and production of their Model 3 cars has been consistently plagued with setbacks.
Chicago also has its own share of problems, a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice claimed that crime levels in Chicago had dropped in recent years but noted: “The murder rate in Chicago, which increased significantly in 2015 and 2016, declined by 12.3 percent in 2017, but remains more than 60 percent above 2014 levels.” Like many big cities, Chicago also suffers from a large homeless population. A 2017 report from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless claimed that there were approximately 82,212 homeless people in Chicago in 2015.