The Chicago Tribune reports that autonomous 16-passenger vehicles would zip back and forth at speeds exceeding 100 mph in tunnels between the Loop and O’Hare International Airport under a high-speed transit proposal being negotiated between Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s The Boring Co., city and company officials have confirmed.
Emanuel’s administration has selected Musk’s company from four competing bids to provide high-speed transportation between downtown and the airport. Negotiations between the two parties will ensue in hopes of reaching a final deal to provide a long-sought-after alternative to Chicago’s traffic gridlock and slower “L” trains.
In choosing Boring, Emanuel and senior City Hall officials are counting on Musk’s highly touted but still unproven tunneling technology over the more traditional high-speed rail option that until recently had been envisioned as the answer to speeding up the commute between the city’s central business district and one of the world’s busiest airports.
Emanuel and Boring officials said it’s too early to provide a timeline for the project’s completion or its estimated cost, but they said Boring would pay for the entire project.
“We’re talking about a Tesla-in-a-tunnel,” Chicago Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin told the Chicago Sun-Times. As for the risk of an unproven technology, Rivkin told the paper that the “only real risk to the city is that it doesn’t get built. … It’s not much of a risk to have a partially-built, essentially cave-in-proof sealed tunnel 30-to-60 feet underground in some portion of the city.”