Elon Musk will bid to build Chicago transit ‘loop’

Elon Musk’s original Hyperloop concept called for passengers to travel through pneumatic tubes in pods. (Tesla / SpaceX Illustration)

A loop to the Loop? It could happen: Billionaire Elon Musk says he’s willing to build an express transit system that links downtown Chicago with O’Hare International Airport.

Musk’s expression of interest came in response to Chicago’s “request for qualifications” relating to the system — which would be designed to cut travel times to 20 minutes or less, for a fare that costs less than a taxi or ride-hailing service. The Chicago Tribune said the fare could be in the range of $25 or more.

In a tweet, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the express route would “give Chicagoans and visitors to our great city more options, faster travel time, and build on Chicago’s competitive advantage as a global hub of tourism, transportation and trade.”

No public funding would be provided. Instead, the concessionaire would have to finance the project and earn the money back from fares, advertising revenue and other sources.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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