CHICAGO (AP) — The Boring Company, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has been chosen to build a high-speed underground transportation system to whisk passengers from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport in mere minutes.
Every electric vehicle running in the proposed tunnel system would carry eight to 16 people and travel at speeds of 125 to 150 mph, the company said on its website.
The company said it would pay for the entire project, and that it plans to collect ticket and advertising revenue. No information has been released about estimated construction costs or when work on the project might begin.
“Neither our mayor, nor Elon Musk, is a patient man, so we expect to start negotiations immediately and construction as soon as possible, and we’ll be putting this project online in the near future,” Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin said Thursday.
Announcing the agreement Wednesday night, Adam Collins, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the journey will take approximately 12 minutes. That’s much less than the approximately 40 minutes it now takes to make it from O’Hare to the city using the Chicago Transportation Authority’s Blue Line train. The alternative — by road — can take more than twice as long.
“Bringing Chicago’s economic engines closer together will keep the city on the cutting edge of progress, create thousands of good-paying jobs and strengthen our great city for future generations,” Emanuel said in the news release. “This transformative project will help Chicago write the next chapter in our legacy of innovation and invention.”
Rivkin said rides will cost between $20 and $25, which is significantly less than a taxi ride to or from the airport. A Blue Line ticket from O’Hare costs $5.
Chicago officials have talked for more than a decade about having a high-speed route between O’Hare and downtown but have yet to move forward with such a project. Getting it done — and at no cost to taxpayers — would be a major accomplishment for Emanuel, who’s seeking his third term next year.
A Boring Company spokesman said Thursday the company is “really excited” to work with the city.
In May, Musk said a tunnel being built under a Los Angeles suburb to test a transportation system was almost complete and that the public would be offered free rides in a few months. Musk also touted a possible high-speed tunnel project connecting Washington, D.C., and New York last summer.
Musk’s flagship electric-car company Tesla Inc. struggled for the first time last year to turn an annual profit in its 15 years of doing business. Musk announced Tuesday that Tesla would be laying off about 3,600 workers, mainly from its salaried ranks, as it slashes costs. He said the cuts amount to about 9 percent of the company’s workforce of 40,000.
At the company’s annual shareholder meeting this month, Musk said he expected his company to post a quarterly profit during the July-September period. For nearly all of its history, Tesla has put up losses while investing heavily in technology, manufacturing plants and an extensive car-charging network.
Musk’s claims that his Tesla models are the safest cars on the road have come under some scrutiny, much of it directed at the vehicles’ Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system. Even so, Tesla’s Model S sedan has scored the highest numerical rating of any vehicle in crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Model X was the first SUV to get a five-star rating in every category.