Visions of skating along Chicago's next Loop

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) has selected business magnate Elon Musk's Boring Co. to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a new high-speed tunnel between downtown Chicago and O'Hare International Airport.

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".

Musk, the founder of Space X and Tesla Inc., has high credibility in the tech world for delivering on ideas that have stymied others.

The project will be entirely paid for by The Boring Company, which will generate revenue from ticket sales, advertising and merchandising.


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.

The Chicago Express Loop will initially feature skates outfitted as 16-passenger shuttles that will complete the 18-mile run between the airport and a new station to be built near the city's Millennium Park in 12 minutes, compared to approximately 45 minutes for the Blue Line surface train that services the route today.

Emanuel's office said Chicago will negotiate directly and only with The Boring Company for a deal that will eventually be revealed to the City Council. It'll be called The Chicago Express Loop. Reuters has not been able to reach the city or the company for immediate comment. One thing is clear: This is definitely a big win for The Boring Company, and it's a chance for Musk to prove that he can help major cities cut back on their traffic and transportation problems. The company has been digging under a SpaceX parking lot, while its application to dig a tunnel beneath Los Angeles and Culver City is caught up regulatory obstacles and legal challenges.

According to published reports, The Boring Co. has estimated the project would cost less than $1 billion.


Then it must tie this all together with a network of above and below-ground stations without running out of money-the fate that has befallen Chicago's previous high-speed transit dreams.

"Given his track record, we are taking his reputation and saying, "This is a guy in two other transportation modes who has not failed". Video renderings of the system show autonomous vehicles that can pick up passengers at street level and then move them along concrete tubes to their destination. The projected cost? $20 to $25 one way.

According to the Boring Company, the skates would have Wi-Fi and be large enough to hold passengers and cargo.


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