Elon Musk announced last year that his new startup, the Boring Company, would bid on Chicago’s transit project between the airport and downtown with a ‘high-speed loop.’
Now it has been announced that the submission is among the last two contenders for the project, which could soon become the startup’s third infrastructure project.
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Two other submissions for the project were rejected after the first round of the proposals.
Along with the Boring Company’s proposal, a company called ‘O’Hare Xpress LLC’ set up by Meridiam, Antarctica Capital, JLC Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald and First Transit has also been selected.
Deputy Mayor Bob Rivkin said Tuesday (via Chicago Sun-Times):
“One is proposing a more traditional rapid rail service. The other is proposing a tunnel service. Cost components will be different. But the city won’t be on the hook for any of it.”
By Friday, a new “request for proposals” (RFP) will be issued for both companies to complete by May 18. At that point, the city will choose a winner for the project.
To be clear, the winner doesn’t actually get any public funds to make the project a reality. They simply win the rights to develop the project, which they will have to fund themselves through revenue from transit fares.
As for the actual system called “Loop” that the Boring Company plans to deploy in Chicago, it’s actually different from the company’s other two projects in Los Angeles and between Washington D.C. and New York.
After it was announced, I asked Musk to clarify:
So it sounds like it would be something other than a hyperloop or the Boring Company’s electric skate concept.
Musk even added that it might not need rails:
The company later elaborated on the ‘Loop’ concept on its website:
Loop is a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported on autonomous electric skates traveling at 125-150 miles per hour. Electric skates will carry between 8 and 16 passengers (mass transit), or a single passenger vehicle.
It’s in line with Musk’s recent announcement that the Boring Company will focus on hyperloop and tunnels for pedestrians and cyclists instead of systems to move cars.