If you’re planning to fly into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport at some point in the future, you might be pleasantly surprised by the transit options. The city struck a deal with Elon Musk today to move forward with its plan to build a high-speed rail between O’Hare and downtown Chicago.
In November, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his decision to go forward with plans for the high-speed rail line and asked for bids from teams interested in building and financing the project. Emmanuel’s goal is to transport travelers from the airport to Chicago’s center in 20 minutes or fewer, and at roughly a third of the cost of an expensive taxi or ride-sharing app.
After five months of negotiations, the city announced that Musk’s company, The Boring Co., beat out runner-up O’Hare Xpress LLC, a consortium that includes the companies Meridiam, Antarctica Capital, JLC Infrastructure, First Transit and Mott MacDonald (the latter of which has experience in airport transportation, having developed plans for London’s Heathrow.)
Musk’s plan proposes a 16-passenger autonomous vehicle that can whip passengers at speeds up to 100 MPH through tunnels between the airport and downtown. The final route of the new transit system is still being finalized, but Musk estimates that these vehicles could transport passengers downtown in only 12 minutes – a dramatic decrease from the usual 30- to 40-minute taxi ride – and for just $20-$25.
Officials from city and Boring have stated that it’s too soon to estimate a timeframe or final cost for this project, but have stated that Boring will be fronting the bill.
While Emmanuel seems optimistic about this new venture, telling the Chicago Tribune “every time [Chicago has] been an innovator in transportation, we have seized the future,” the fact remains that despite Musk’s emerging plans to construct these tunnels in cities like LA, DC and now Chicago, he has yet to actually complete one. As a man who once stated that public transportation “sucks,” time will tell how successful The Boring Co. and its founder can be at actually revamping it.