By: Marcus Paul
Chicago earned the nickname “Second City” after it rose from the ashes of the Chicago Fire in 1871 and revolutionized cities across America with modern architecture. Today, Chicago is looking to modernize the transportation industry with the help of visionary CEO, Elon Musk.
In early 2016, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has revisited the idea of creating an express high-speed rail service that connects downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport. Earlier this week, Elon Musk’s Boring Company won the heavily contested contract for the project, with a plan to complete the trip, with autonomous pods, in just 12 minutes.
If this idea sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The Richard M. Daley administration began construction on a “superstation” that started underneath the Block 37 mall in the central Loop. After spending over $200 million of taxpayer money, the project was abandoned in 2008, leaving Block 37 with the world’s largest unfinished basement.
Earlier this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stood with Elon Musk on the site of the failed “superstation” beneath Block 37 to officially announce the project. The Boring Company intends to start drilling as soon as they receive the appropriate approvals, which could be as soon as three or four months, according to Musk.
Mayor Emanuel opened the conference by speaking about the exciting, tax-free aspects of the project, ensuring that it would not use taxpayer money.
“We had a few parameters. One, no taxpayer funding. Check. Two, the cost to ride the X should be no more than the cost of a cab, an uber or a lyft. Check. Three, we have to make the trip in less than 20 minutes, and it is Elon’s view that we can do it in 12 minutes,” said Emmanuel.
Musk plans to accomplish these parameters by including 16 electrically powered passenger pods called “skates” that can reach up to 150 miles per hour. Check out the concept art for these skates here. The estimated cost of the project is about $1 billion. Even with no taxpayer funding to fall back on, Musk says he is not concerned with that staggering price tag.
“I don’t really have much trouble raising money historically,” said Musk. “So, I don’t anticipate too much trouble doing so in this situation.”