Chicago picks The Boring Company for high-speed link to airport

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The announcement is a major step for The Boring Company, which was started in 2016 by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

A new proposal for a high-speed rail line from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport could radically change how people get to and from the city. Instead of standard 28 feet one-lane tunnels, Boring says by reducing the diameter to 14 feet it can reduce tunneling costs by three to four times.

The service from downtown to the airport on electric vehicles in underground tunnels will take 12 minutes, mayoral spokesman Adam Collins and the company said on Twitter on Wednesday night. That compares to the roughly 40 minutes it now takes to make it from O'Hare to the city via the Chicago Transportation Authority's Blue Line train.

Previous city officials have tried to implement an express line between Chicago's largest airport and the downtown area but to no avail.

The company and the city are entering the negotiation phase.

The Boring Company's new O'Hare Airport Station. Experts have raised concerns over the financial viability of Loop transportation systems, as well as potential environmental and legal challenges.

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust, acting on behalf of the City of Chicago, chose the Boring Company's proposal for the Chicago Express Loop service from downtown Chicago to Terminals 1 - 3 at the city's O'Hare Airport - where almost 80 million passengers boarded or disembarked at the IL airport in 2017.

The Boring Company has estimated the cost of the project to be $1bn, which would be entirely funded by it in exchange for all revenue from the system's transit fees, advertising, branding and in-vehicle sales.

Musk's plan proposes a 16-passenger autonomous vehicle that can whip passengers at speeds up to 100 miles per hour through tunnels between the airport and downtown. No information has been released about estimated construction costs or when construction might begin. It also requested that fares be below the current rates for taxis and ride-share trips.

"We're really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!" the company said in a tweet.

If all goes well in the contract-negotiation process, The Boring Company's selection by the city of Chicago is the most significant stepping stone for the company to date.

The Boring Company is already working on a Loop transportation system in Los Angeles.

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