A company Elon Musk started that almost sounded like a joke
has just landed a huge deal to build an underground transit system from downtown Chicago to O'Hare airport. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX plans to build two tunnels from the shell of the never-completed transit station at Block 37 to the airport through his new Boring Company, reports the Chicago Sun-Times
. Under the broad strokes of the plan, riders would pay $25 to zip through the tunnels to and from the airport in electric passenger cars, or "skates." In a fact sheet
, the company says the trip would take 12 minutes, up to four times faster than any existing transportation. One huge factor: The project, which the company thinks it can do for less than $1 billion, is not supposed to use a penny of taxpayers' money—the Boring Company will pay for it, then keep the money from fares and concessions.
"We're taking a bet on a guy who doesn't like to fail—and his resources," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel tells the Chicago Tribune, citing Musk's vision in getting Tesla and SpaceX off the ground. "Given his track record, we are taking his reputation and saying, 'This is a guy in two other transportation modes who has not failed.' That's what we’re doing." Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin adds a nickname that seems to be catching on, based on headlines: "We're talking about a Tesla-in-a-tunnel," he says. No word on when the system is supposed to be operating. Musk is apparently already building a similar system in Los Angeles, and he envisions a bigger project of a supersonic "hyperloop" between DC and New York City. (Musk sold flamethrowers to raise money for the Boring Company, and they were a huge hit.)