Chicago Picks Musk's Boring Co. for O'Hare Express Service

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Elon Musk, left, with Boring Co. operations head Steve Davis. Mr. Musk formed the company to build tunnel networks under cities.

Elon Musk, left, with Boring Co. operations head Steve Davis. Mr. Musk formed the company to build tunnel networks under cities.


Photo:

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News

The Boring Company is on its way to Chicago.

Elon Musk’s

venture was picked to finance and build an express train from the downtown Loop neighborhood to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Mayor

Rahm Emanuel

announced. No taxpayer dollars will be funding the service, the mayor said.

Mr. Musk, chief executive officer of

Tesla

Inc., created Boring Co. in 2016 as a hobby to build tunnel networks beneath major cities with the goal of increasing speeds dramatically compared with traditional trains and reducing costs by a factor of 10.

Mr. Musk has yet to complete a project using the company’s transportation technology, which is still under development.

Plans for the express train come as the city works on an $8.5 billion expansion of O’Hare, the country’s third- busiest airport by passenger traffic. The modernization of O’Hare, which will include adding dozens of new gates, rebuilding the international terminal and renovating three other terminals, is expected to take eight years. It would be the largest renovation of O’Hare in its 73-year history.

About 20,000 passengers travel between O’Hare and downtown Chicago daily, and the number is forecast to reach at least 35,000 by 2045, according to the city.

Boring was one of two finalists for the project, after the city issued a request for proposals in March. The decision will kick off formal negotiations with the transportation company and then a final agreement will be presented for a vote to Chicago’s city council.

The city asked for proposals that would cut the current travel times to O’Hare by 50%, down to 20 minutes or less. With a projected travel time of 12 minutes using automated vehicles that would travel over 100 miles an hour, Mr. Musk’s proposed solution would beat expectations. Trains will carry as many as 16 passengers and their luggage as often as every 30 seconds, according to the city. The cost to consumers will be less than cabs or ride-share services, the city said.

Mr. Emanuel said the project  “will help Chicago write the next chapter in our legacy of innovation and invention.”

Write to Shayndi Raice at shayndi.raice@wsj.com

Appeared in the June 14, 2018, print edition as ‘Elon Musk’s Boring Co. Wins Chicago Contract.’

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