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Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference.
Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters
He’s at it again.
OFF THE RAILS

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to build Chicago a high-speed train

Karen Hao
By Karen Hao

Junior Data Scientist & Contributor

Elon Musk isn’t one to wait around.

Over the summer, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was in “preliminary talks“ with Musk about a high-speed train between the city’s downtown and O’Hare International Airport. On Wednesday (Nov. 29), Musk confirmed via Twitter that his Boring Company would respond to Chicago’s request for qualifications, posted earlier that day, for the project.

In subsequent tweets, Musk elaborated on the difference between a “high-speed Loop” and his more popular Hyperloop concept. The former would still use electric-powered pods, but wouldn’t need to run in a vacuumed tube.

The Chicago project would span 20 miles; the city is looking to cut travel time in half—to under 20 minutes—with service at least every 15 minutes and fares that are competitive with taxis or ride-shares, according to the city’s press release. Chicago deputy mayor Bob Rivkin told the Chicago Sun-Times that taxi and ride-share fares from the airport are currently between $40 and $60. “There’s a lot of room between the price of the CTA or parking to price a service in a way that you can make a lot of revenue,” he said.

Whoever wins the city’s bid would enter a public-private agreement “to design, build, finance, operate and maintain” the transit line, the release said.

Chicago residents are anxiously awaiting the airport link. In the Sun-Times article, reporter Fran Spielman characterized the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, which is heading up the project, as slow-starting. “Mayor Rahm Emanuel is finally taking his first concrete step to make that elusive dream a reality,” he wrote.

Proposals are due by Jan. 23, after which top contenders will be sent a request for proposals.

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