In a bold bet that new technology can deliver a long-time City Hall goal, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has selected tech magnate Elon Musk's Boring Company to build and operate a super-express transit system between downtown and O'Hare International Airport. Emanuel said it will be funded by the company with no taxpayer subsidies, and added that in conjunction with O'Hare's planned $8.5 billion expansion, it will fuel Chicago's economic growth. The pods will be made by Musk's other company, Tesla Inc.
That advantage, it says, allows it to use one of the few available transit routes left in crowded big cities: underground, or "3D", as the company puts it on its website.
Musk has said he believes his Hyperloop concept could be the solution to traffic gridlock in Los Angeles, Chicago, and other major metropolitan areas. The passenger vehicles will travel up to 150 miles per hour and will cut the current 30 to 45 minute trip from the airport and Chicago's business district to 12 minutes - according to Boring Company. Public transit from the airport to downtown now takes approximately 45 minutes. The work would be done by Musk's The Boring Company, which is now building a test tunnel in Los Angeles.
The next step will bring the company and the city together to negotiate a contract that will be presented to the Chicago City Council. The tunnels may end up belonging to the city, with a long-term lease assigned to Musk's company. No opening day for the Chicago Express Loop was offered. It received permits to start digging in Washington, DC, and in Los Angeles. "The risk - with no financial risk - is I'm betting on a guy who has proven in space, auto and now a tunnel, that he can innovate and create something of the future".
In Los Angeles, the Boring Company has also proposed building a wider network of tunneled transit, one that incorporates Sherman Oaks to the north and the Long Beach Airport to the southeast of downtown L.A.More news: Dennis Rodman gets emotional over Trump-Kim summit, says Obama ignored him
Rivkin said the estimated fare will be $20 to $25 per ride, which is significantly less than a taxi ride to or from the airport.
The Boring Co has been promoting its plans for Hyperloop tunnels that would allow high-speed travel between cities, such as travel from NY to Washington in less than 30 minutes.
But in interviews with Chicago newspapers, Emanuel expressed great faith in the ability of Musk, father of the Tesla and SpaceX, to deliver at a cost of roughly $1 billion or less.