Mark this down for later: Tech billionaire Elon Musk says the Boring Company could begin work on the express tunnel linking downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport in three to four months, and have it finished in three years. Musk, who’s famous for overly optimistic timelines, laid out that plan today as he stood alongside Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce the deal at a news conference in the unfinished Block 37 transit superstation.
Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s Boring Company is getting the go-ahead to build a multibillion-dollar express transit system between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport, city officials said.
Mayoral spokesman Grant Klinzman told GeekWire in a tweet tonight that the Boring Company won the bid. “Consider it confirmed,” he said.
In a follow-up statement, the Boring Company said its aim will be “to alleviate soul-destroying traffic by constructing safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly public transportation systems.”
Musk’s 18-month-old company beat out a bid from O’Hare Xpress LLC, a consortium that included the Mott MacDonald engineering firm and JLC Infrastructure, a venture backed by former basketball star Magic Johnson.
The Boring Company, created by billionaire Elon Musk to revolutionize the market for tunnels and flamethrowers, is one of four ventures to put in bids to build a high-speed transit system between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listed the respondents on Feb. 7 in a news release, and said the next step will be to determine which of the ventures are truly qualified to build, finance, operate and maintain the O’Hare Express.
The system is required to run shuttles every 15 minutes or less, with a downtown-to-airport transit time of no more than 20 minutes, for a fare that’s less than the cost of current taxi and rideshare services.
The Chicago Infrastructure Trust leaves it to the bidders to come up with the best way to make that happen. It could be by sending electric-powered pods through underground tunnels, which is the likeliest course for The Boring Company. But the system also could make use of above-ground tracks.
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.