Elon Musk’s Boring Company Will Debut High Speed Underground Transit System In Chicago

We’re not quite flyover country here in Chicago, but avid readers of tech news would be forgiven their impression of the Second City being somewhat second tier in the technology space.  So many of the advances in the tech industry are achieved on the ends and corners of the country, with consumer technology being largely the product of Silicon Valley and the Pacific Northwest, military and transportation technology being the product of the East and West coasts, and space technology seemingly being birthed from the south.  Still, Chicago has a tech sector of its own and our city is not without the capacity to think big and carry forward with grand ideas.

Evidence of that was announced recently by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Elon Musk, with the news that Musk’s Boring Company would build it’s “Loop” high-speed transit platform between O’hare and downtown over the next three years.  The company made the announcement on its website with the usual Musk-style flare.

The Boring Company has been selected by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), on behalf of the City of Chicago, to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an O’Hare Express service. The Chicago Express Loop will provide fast and convenient transportation between O’Hare Airport (Terminals 1-3) and Block 37 in downtown Chicago. The Boring Company aims to alleviate soul-destroying traffic by constructing safe, affordable, and environmentally-friendly public transportation systems. 

The high-speed “skate” system, based on existing Tesla technology, from O’hare to downtown in 20 or so minutes.  That’s roughly half the time it takes on the Blue Line, and a third or less to take a car or cab, depending on traffic.  More importantly to our Chicago readers who will already be wondering about how much of the bill we are footing for all of this, it’s not a concern. Musk is going to do this in three years total entirely through private funding. While these underground rides will cost $20 or so, the complete lack of public funding had many questioning Musk’s abilities to this.  In an appearance alongside the Mayor, he was, shall we say, confident.

“I don’t really have much trouble raising money historically. So, I don’t anticipate too much trouble doing so in this situation. Cumulatively, between my … companies … we’ve probably raised on the order of $23 billion, all things included,” he said to nervous laughter from the crowd of movers-and-shakers gathered to get a look at him.

“The economic case here is quite compelling. I don’t really see any obstacles to that.”

Frankly, it’s hard to argue with him. Regardless, Chicago is now left to wait for The Boring Company to debut the high-speed transit it hopes to roll out in other cities here, first.  That’s the kind of big thing in tech that should get people excited, even if it does come with a $20 price tag.

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