Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » “It’s a car in a very small tunnel”
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
“It’s a car in a very small tunnel”

Friday, Mar 22, 2019

* The Tribune editorial board recently expressed some disappointment that Elon Musk’s O’Hare to downtown tunnel project appeared doomed

From the start, skepticism has hounded Elon Musk’s bid to build a subterranean superhighway that would connect downtown Chicago with O’Hare International Airport. A vision dismissed by many as a pipe dream now appears to be a dashed dream.

Neither contender in the April 2 mayoral runoff election, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot nor Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, is a fan of Musk’s $1 billion plan to create a high-speed transit link between the Loop and O’Hare. We’ll admit, the idea has some eye-catching sparkle. The billionaire innovator said he could develop technology that would send passenger pods zooming through tunnels at speeds of up to 150 mph. A one-way trip would take as little as 12 minutes. […]

The ride, which would be called “the X,” would be pitched to business travelers willing to pay a bit more to get to O’Hare faster and more comfortably. The anticipated price would be $20 to $25, about the cost of a ride-share cab. The Blue Line gets you from downtown to O’Hare on a $2.50 fare, and from O’Hare to downtown for $5. Would enough travelers switch over to “the X” to make it worthwhile?

With Mayor Lightfoot or Mayor Preckwinkle, maybe we’ll never know. We like the bold spirit of innovation that suffuses Musk’s vision. In this cutthroat global economy, cities that distinguish themselves by making business easier to conduct — travel improvements included — stand to profit.

* Virginia Mercury

Virginia transit officials flew out to California earlier this year to check out a tunnel dug by Elon Musk’s Boring Company and, well, they think the state should stick with traditional railways and roads for now.

“It’s a car in a very small tunnel,” Michael McLaughlin, Virginia’s chief of rail transportation, told members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s public transit subcommittee on Wednesday. […]

“I think there’s a lot of show going on here,” said Scott Kasprowicz, a Commonwealth Transportation Board member who made the trip with McLaughlin and public transit chief Jennifer Mitchell.

“I don’t mean to suggest that they don’t have a serious plan in mind, but I don’t consider the steps they’ve taken to date to be substantive. They’ve purchased a used boring machine. They’ve put a bore in the neighborhood where they developed the SpaceX product, and they’ve taken a Model 3 and put guidewheels on it and they’re running it through the tunnel at 60 miles per hour.

“None of that, I think, is really significant from a standpoint of moving this process forward.”

* Jalopnik’s Aaron Gordon

It’s a car in a very small tunnel is both a rote, factually accurate description of what the tunnel is and also one of the sickest burns of the entire Boring Company hubris to date.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    We all know you were already shopping for the specialized, optional side-wheels, Rich.

  2. - A Jack - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    An elevated go-kart track would be cheaper to build and be more fun. And it would pair up nicely with the JRTC water slide.

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    Let some other city be the expensive guinea pig for this stuff.

  4. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    If you don’t want to take a train with the hoi polloi, take an Uber.

  5. - Anon E Moose - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    Couldn’t we just make the Blue Line faster and more comfortable?

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    I suggest we apply thrusters to the JRTC itself. It could actually fly it to OHare and back. With a water park and elevated go kart track inside. And that giant slide from the fairgrounds.

    It would be safer than Elon Musk’s tunnel.

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===already shopping for the specialized, optional side-wheels===

    I do not own a Tesla. I lease an ELR.

  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    –With Mayor Lightfoot or Mayor Preckwinkle, maybe we’ll never know. We like the bold spirit of innovation that suffuses Musk’s vision.–

    I think the bold musk of Elon’s snake oil has suffused the troncs’ frontal lobes.

  9. - Amalia - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    laugh all you want at ideas like this one. there are other ideas that might make you pause but which are worth exploring too. Illinois is behind other states when it comes to innovations in transportation. get ready for the future or get left behind.

  10. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    I think it would be wort waiting to see how much they end up changing tunnel boring, that was supposed to be the big change, tunnel boring faster and cheaper. Once they have that figured out (if they figure it out), then lets take a closer look.

    Having taken both the Tube and the Heathrow express multiple times in London, it isn’t who you take the trip with, it is how long the trip takes. If they figure out how to make the tunnel quicker and likely cheaper, the faster trip to the loop is a big win.

  11. - Anon - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    And noteworthy that Mike McLaughlin was formerly at CTA

  12. - Actual Red - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 3:32 pm:

    So, so, so many better ways to spend $1 billion on transit in Chicago. Not as flashy, but how about updating and increasing the speed and capacity of existing lines, or how about adding wheelchair accessibility to more stations.

    If you want to get whackier, how about a new line connecting some of the “spokes” so folks in the neighborhoods outside the loop could get to other neighborhoods faster? Have Elon bore a hole under Western or California that links the Brown, Blue, Green, Pink, and Orange lines together. But with trains instead of a Tesla with extra wheels.

    I respect the desire to pursue bold projects, but why do those bold projects only ever seem to benefit “business travelers willing to pay a bit more?”

  13. - a drop in - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    I would advise everyone to watch HBO’s documentary about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. It’s a warning about following blindly anyone’s claim without some deep verification.

  14. - TunnelDream - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==So, so, so many better ways to spend $1 billion on transit in Chicago. Not as flashy, but how about updating and increasing the speed and capacity of existing lines, or how about adding wheelchair accessibility to more stations.==

    Why on earth would The Boring Company pay $1B to improve CTA trains or add wheelchair accessibility to stations? TBC wasn’t looking to donate $1B to the city, it was an investment in exchange for the right to dig and charge fares.

  15. - Huh? - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    “Illinois is behind other states when it comes to innovations in transportation.”

    What is the innovation of the tunnel? Musk claims to be able to bore tunnels faster and cheaper than the mainstream construction companies with tunneling experience. It is obvious that boring a smaller diameter tunnel is faster and cheaper than a large diameter tunnel. Where is the innovation? There is none.

    Musk has no experience with tunneling. What makes him think he has the answers to the technology? His arrogance is all he has when making claims to innovation. He purchased his first tunneling machine. He didn’t build it from scratch. So there is nothing new that musk has brought to the project.

    Using tesla as the exemplar, musk has continuously over promised and under performed. Extending the example, the $1 billion tunnels to O’Hare will be a losing proposition for the city and musk.

  16. - NoGifts - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    Remember that RTA had a contract with Raytheon to build a “personal rapid transit” service?

  17. - Blue Dog Dem - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 4:51 pm:

    An ELR? All along I thought you were a truck guy.

  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 6:28 pm:

    ===see how much they end up changing tunnel boring===


    He bought a used boring machine from China.

  19. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 22, 19 @ 7:25 pm:


    The “Illinois Exodus” dingbats in troncslyvania — who moan and groan every day about taxes and spending — are sad that Musk’s ridiculous-on-its-face, billion-dollar grift isn’t going forward?

    You know what a billion could do for those who ride the rails and buses every day? The 24-hour, lifeblood system?

    The lack of self-awareness in that crew is astounding.

TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* About 18 percent of public employee retirees move out of state
* Today's number: 30 years
* That is so Illinois
* AFSCME members ratify new state contract
* Everything you ever wanted to know about Kelly Cassidy
* A missed opportunity
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...





Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller