Elon Musk's Boring Co. is the winner in a bid to build a multibillion-dollar high-speed express train to Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport. The result gives the young company a big boost in legitimacy as it tries to get transportation projects underway in Los Angeles and Washington.
The company beat out a consortium that included Mott MacDonald, the civil engineering firm that designed a terminal at London's Heathrow Airport, and JLC Infrastructure, an infrastructure fund backed by former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The city is expected to announce the news as soon as Thursday, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Boring Co. confirmed the agreement on Twitter after Bloomberg first reported the deal, saying, “We’re really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!” It’s a sizable victory for a company that was launched just 18 months ago, is working with unproven futuristic ideas, and—aside from a test tunnel it is digging in the Los Angeles suburb Hawthorne, California—lacks construction experience.
“Elon Musk is looking for a place to prove his technology works, and Chicago is rolling out the red carpet for him,” said Joe Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University in Chicago.
It is unclear exactly what the Boring Co. high-speed airport link would involve, but last year Musk tweeted about his ideas for Chicago. "Electric pods for sure," he wrote. "Rails maybe, maybe not."
The project is unusual in that no government funding is involved, forcing the winner to finance the entire construction cost itself. That limited interest from bidders, and has caused some to take a skeptical view of the so-called O'Hare Express project, which has been in the works for years....MORE