by Michael J. Shapiro | June 14, 2018
The Boring Co., business magnate Elon Musk's brainchild that seeks to revolutionize public transportation with high-tech tunnels, has won a bid to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an underground high-speed shuttle for O'Hare International Airport. The Chicago Infrastructure Trust, on behalf of the city, selected Boring's Chicago Express Loop concept, which aims to provide transportation between Terminals 1-3 and Block 37 in downtown Chicago. The privately funded project will be paid for by the Boring Co.
The Loop will utilize the same technology Musk is planning for his similar Los Angeles project: Passengers will be transported underground on autonomous electric "skates" -- which carry between eight and 16 people, or a single-passenger vehicle -- and zoom through tunnels at speeds of 125 to 150 miles per hour. The skates themselves are battery-operated, zero-emission vehicles built on a modified Tesla Model X SUV chassis, and they'll be confined to a concrete track inside the tunnel.
According to Boring's proposal, the O'Hare-Downtown trip will take just 12 minutes -- three to four times faster than existing transportation systems, and likely less than half the price of taxi or rideshare services. The skates will run frequently -- as fast as one departure every 30 seconds -- and operate 20 hours per day, seven days a week.
While no official timeline has been released, the parties involved aren't interested in procrastinating. "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 told the Associated Press on Thursday.
"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," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "This transformative project will help Chicago write the next chapter in our legacy of innovation and invention."