The city of Chicago has officially selected Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build its transit system between the O’Hare airport and downtown. The company will build and operate a ‘Loop’, one of its new high-speed transit system ideas.
The city has long been looking for a way to address the issue of long transit time between its major airport and downtown. Last year, it started a bidding process for a transit system and in March, we reported that The Boring Company was among two finalists in the bidding process.
Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel confirmed that Musk’s latest startup was chosen. Companies submitting projects had to cut down the sometimes hour-long trip to just 20 minutes.
The Boring Company’s submission reduced travel time to about “12 minutes” by utilizing electric vehicles traveling at over 100 mph in new twin underground tunnels that they plan to dig. They plan to utilize the “unfinished underground transit station at Block 37 and create a new station at O’Hare.” The city wrote in a press release:
“Each vehicle will carry up to 16 passengers, plus their luggage, and will depart from O’Hare and from Block 37 as frequently as every 30 seconds. The Boring Company plans to charge fares below the RFP requirement that this premium service should cost less than current taxi and ride-share services.”
The vehicles should look something like what is pictured above and the startup previously disclosed that it plans to use Tesla’s electric powertrain to move their vehicle inside the tunnels.
As specified by the city, The Boring Company will be the one operating and therefore be taking revenue from the service once in operation. While they won their bid with the city, the local government is not contributing any money to the project and The Boring Company will have to finance it itself and recuperate its cost through fares – virtually becoming a private mass-transit company. Earlier this year, the startup raised over $100 million – mostly from Musk himself.
The company and the city are entering the negotiation phase.
They wrote in a press release:
The company will be required to further develop its plans and ensure they meet all necessary safety, construction, financing and operating requirements. The contract will also include protections to ensure taxpayers would be protected against any costs incurred by an incomplete project.
An overall project costs and construction timeline will be finalized during this process. With over 20,000 daily air passengers traveling between O’Hare and the Chicago Central Business District, the new system is expected to have quite an impact on traffic in the city, the cost of transport, and on emissions since it’s all-electric and it will be replacing lots of taxi and ride-sharing trips.
As for the Boring Company, it officially becomes the company’s third major on-going infrastructure project as it is still currently working on its major tunnel network and Loop in Los Angeles as well as a Loop that could become a Hyperloop on the East coast.