Dig it: Elon Musk’s Boring Co. gets tapped for Chicago project

Elon Musk co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla speaks as Steve Davis the operations head of Boring Co. listens during a Boring event in Los Angeles California

The Boring Company and the city of Chicago will begin negotiations to develop the company's Loop transit system, which could transport passengers between downtown Chicago and O'Hare International Airport in an estimated 12 minutes.

The Chicago Express Loop will connect downtown Chicago with O'Hare International Airport. The plan comes in response to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's request a year ago for proposals to build and operate a high-speed rail line that will whisk passengers from the airport to downtown in 20 minutes or less.

The Chicago and Los Angeles projects come as Musk wrestles with production problems for the rollout of his highly anticipated Model 3 sedan at Tesla TSLA.O , with some investors concerned his overlapping leadership roles at Boring and his rocket-building firm SpaceX has him spread too thin.

The announcement is a major step for The Boring Company, which was started in 2016 by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The company has said it's faster and cheaper than other subterranean projects.

Known as the Chicago Express Loop, the new system will feature "electric skate" vehicles that will whisk passengers through underground tunnels at speeds up to 150 miles per hour, according to The Boring Co.'s website. Better, but it still takes 40 minutes to make the trip.

The company said it will fund the project in its entirety, and that it plans to collect ticket and advertising revenue.

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

This comes about a month after Musk announced a plan for a high-speed network of "personalized mass transit tunnels" under Los Angeles.

"Mayor Emanuel is prioritizing the interests of billionaires and big corporations ahead of the very real and immediate needs of Chicago's taxpayers and neighborhoods", he said in a statement.

"The risk - with no financial risk - is I'm betting on a guy who has proven in space, auto and now a tunnel, that he can innovate and create something of the future", said Emanuel.

So far, there have been no public demonstrations of The Boring Company's technology, with most details outlined only in conceptual sketches.

The Boring Company must pay for a new station at O'Hare and renovate a unopened transit "superstation" at Block 37, part of a shopping center near City Hall that was a vestige of an abandoned high-speed rail project. The projected cost? $20 to $25 one way. The skates, according to a fact-sheet from the company, would likely run every 30 seconds, 20 hours per day, the company said.

The project is expected to cost around $1 billion, according to two people familiar with the plans.

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