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Chicago Mayor Actually Wants Elon Musk To Drill a Tunnel Under The City

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Since launching The Boring Company a year ago, Elon Musk has mentioned several possible construction sites for the tunnel-drilling business, and thrown out a vague reference to a “verbal” government approval for a Hyperloop tunnel connecting New York City and Washington, DC. But now we know at least one mayor wants Musk to drill a hole under their city.

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Earlier this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel began soliciting bids from firms interested in building and operating an express train from downtown to O’Hare International Airport. Speaking to the Chicago Sun Times, Deputy Mayor Bob Rivkin clarified who the mayor’s office has its eyes on for the project. “We hope Elon Musk and either builders of hyperloops and other innovative technologies will respond,” said Rivkin. “We think it could be feasible at no cost to the taxpayers and this is the right format to use to find out formally if that is the case. We’ll know as soon as we get responses.”

Musk responded to the call last night, with a tweet announcing The Boring Company’s plans to throw its (branded, $20) hat into the ring, for the chance to “fund, build & operate a high-speed Loop connecting Chicago O’Hare Airport to downtown.”

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The Boring Company would not provide any additional comment to Gizmodo at this time.

Emanuel and Musk have been discussing a collaboration since at least June, when the mayor sent aides to Los Angeles to meet with the tech billionaire who also runs SpaceX and Tesla.

Chicago is accepting proposals for express trains, either above or below ground, that can depart every 15 minutes and get commuters to the airport in “20 minutes or less,” for a rate that’s cheaper than taxi fare or a ride-hailing service. Rivkin told the Sun Times that the trip costs about $60 in a cab and $40 in an Uber.

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Whoever wins the bid will be responsible for financing the project. The express train operation “will be funded solely by project-specific revenues (like fares or advertising),” and not taxpayer money, according to a statement from the mayor’s office issued yesterday.

Last Month, Musk got permission to start digging a tunnel in Maryland and showed off the tunnel his company is drilling under Los Angeles. While LA mayor Eric Garcetti is open to Musk’s plans, Chicago’s seems to be the first major city openly interested in Musk’s tunnel vision.

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[Twitter, Chicago mayor’s office]

Former senior reporter at Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

As I always say: think about where Musk wants to go.

Mars’ surface is a mess of radiation. He’s going to have to build most of the infrastructure underground. A Musk Habitat isn’t going to be glistening domes and high-rises jutting out of the perchlorate-penetrated iron imbued sand... its going to be miles and miles of solar panels and outskirts of landing pads with mirror arrays concentrating sunlight into waveguides and directing it under the surface to the actual habitation.

The Boring Company has its work cut out for it.