Elon Musk-backed startup The Boring Company, which was partially funded by the sale of baseball caps and novelty flamethrowers, has been chosen by the city of Chicago to build a high-speed underground transportation system linking O'Hare International Airport with downtown. U.S. cities are looking for alternatives to overcrowded highways and impossibly expensive subways.
Musk detailed The Boring Company's Loop, a mass transit system that will carry 16 people and travel at 150 miles per hour through a tunnel. At a news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday, Musk said the Loop "will ultimately transition to the Hyperloop system".
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday that his administration is entering one-on-one negotiations with the Musk company to build the high-speed system that will utilize electric vehicles running through twin underground tunnels.
At the company's annual shareholder meeting this month, Musk said he expected the Palo Alto, California, company to post a quarterly profit during the July-September period.
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. This tunnel is now limited to Hawthorne.
Prices for the express service have not been set, but The Boring Company's proposal said that they'll be more expensive than the Blue Line, but cheaper than a auto service.
Some are skeptical such a project will be built.
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The proposed system would transport passengers between O'Hare, one of the nation's busiest airports, and downtown in 12 minutes, according to the Boring Company's proposal.
The Tribune reports that The Boring Company will shoulder all the costs of the project, which it estimates to be around $1 billion.
The Boring Company appears to be using the Model X for experiments. The massive engineering feat would also be coupled with an unprecedented reduction in costs for such a transit project.
Also, it's not clear if the benefits of the airport connection would justify the costs. The fare would be about $25, less than the average $45 taxi trip but more than Chicago's current Blue Line route from O'Hare. The company has said it's faster and cheaper than other subterranean projects.
Without providing a specific timeline, the Boring Company said it will take over the unfinished Block 37 superstation in the city, which the company said is an "amazing facility", according to the Chicago Sun Times. After 40 years of incremental innovation in transportation, most of it from outside the United States, "I'm all for it", he 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.