Economy

Chicago selects Boring Co to connect downtown, airport

Chicago selects Boring Co to connect downtown, airport

It is unclear how long it will take Musk's system to be built or how much it would cost but the project will be 100 percent privately funded. First, the vehicles: autonomous, big enough for 16 passengers, riding concrete tunnels using eight wheels, four vertical and four horizontal.

Before the high tech cars can make the promised 12 minute trip to O'Hare, construction workers have to build 17 miles of twin tunnels.

"Chicago is always looking at what's possible and then making it achievable", Emanuel said.

The big news was followed by a big question: Can another company founded by Elon Musk do something never done with technology not yet tested on a scale not attempted before?

"We're super excited", said Musk, adding he does not expect any problems raising capital for the project.

"I'd hope that you'd cheer us on, because if we succeed it's going to be a great thing for the city, and if we fail, well I guess me and others will lose a bunch of money", Mr Musk said.

The Block 37 station was a dream project for "former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who sunk $200 million into building a downtown station that never opened", member station WBEZ reported last fall, as it analyzed Emanuel's plan to resurrect the project. It would utilize a mothballed station under Block 37, the launching spot in the Loop for the line that would be known as the Chicago Express. Lastly, Musk announced that The Boring Company would tap both union and non-union workers for manpower.

The Boring equipment Elon Musk will use is far more sophisticated than the excavation methods that made way for Chicago's subway system, according to Northwestern University civil engineering professor James Hambleton.

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As for how much it would cost Chicago travelers to ride on the system, the Boring Company says that while it's not yet finalized, the fare "will be less than half the typical price of taxi/ride-share services", but higher than the city's Blue Line train from O'Hare - which now costs $5, as a special fare.

The expected price to ride what would be dubbed "the X" is $20 to $25, about the cost for a ride-share cab to O'Hare. A Blue Line ticket from O'Hare costs $5.

Some critics already have emerged. He said the caucus is demanding hearings on the "potential boondoggle".

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.

Loop is untested at scale, and Musk's Boring Company is still new to the business of high-speed public transit.

Drilling for the project, pending regulatory and environmental approvals, could begin in as soon as three to four months, said Musk, who also founded and heads luxury electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc and rocket maker SpaceX.

"I think if you look at someone's track record or a company's track record...it's reasonable to extrapolate into what it would do in the future", Musk said about criticism of the effort. For almost all of its history, Tesla has put up losses while investing heavily in technology, manufacturing plants and an extensive car-charging network.