Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Loop to O'Hare in 12 minutes: Elon Musk gets the job

Loop to O'Hare in 12 minutes: Elon Musk gets the job

The proposed link will shuttle eight to 16 passengers on "skate" electric vehicles in an underground loop between the airport and the Block 37 development in downtown Chicago.

After having won the bid to build Chicago's new transit system today, Elon Musk's Boring Company is now showcasing its latest transport technology: a Tesla Model X with a contraption that enables the all-electric vehicle to drive on rails inside the startup's tunnel.

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Elon Musk's venture was picked to finance and build an express train from the downtown Loop neighborhood to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced.

The system will travel the 17 miles from downtown to O'Hare, one of the world's busiest airports, in 12 minutes, less time than it takes to get through airport security, Emanuel said at a news conference in an unfinished underground train station in the Loop that will be used by the system. Maryland's Department of Transportation gave conditional approval to the construction of a tunnel from Baltimore to Washington for a super-high-speed transportation system, The Washington Post reported in October.

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"We have a person in Elon Musk who started an electric vehicle company from nothing, and started a space company from nothing, and he has proven that he doesn't like to fail", Emanuel said. Shuttles would leave as frequently as every 30 seconds, and the system would operate 20 hours every day.

And Musk has been pretty public about the Boring Co.'s efforts to dig transportation tunnels underneath parts of the Los Angeles area that are meant to help alleviate that region's traffic snarl. The tunnels may end up belonging to the city, with a long-term lease assigned to Musk's company.

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The Tribune reports that The Boring Company will shoulder all the costs of the project, which it estimates to be around $1 billion. If the Boring Company and Chicago reach a final deal, the project would be privately funded, but many other questions remain, because Loop has not been tested at scale. "Given his track record, we are taking his reputation and saying, 'This is a guy in two other transportation modes who has not failed.' That's what we're doing". The Loop's 18-mile route supposedly would cost passengers $20 to $25 per trip. A lengthy write-up in The Chicago Tribune says that the total cost of the project could be around $1 billion, according to unnamed sources with knowledge on the matter. Last year, Gregory Hauser, a civil engineer at Dragados who recently managed the replacement of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct-the largest underground highway project in the US-said what The Boring Company attempting is on par with the challenge faced by SpaceX.

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