Never one to wait for permission, Elon Musk’s The Boring Company has published its first city-wide map tracing the routes it would like to build as a Los Angeles underground transportation system. The company, dedicated to building an underground transit network, has yet to build a working subterranean system. However, it has been piling up permits (paywall) and endorsements from government agencies, and dug a test tunnel in the parking lot of SpaceX in Hawthorne, California (Musk is founder of both companies).
The Boring Company published the map on its website on Dec. 5. It shows a 6.5-mile proof-of-concept tunnel through Los Angeles (for which it claimed to have filed permits) and a Phase 2 expansion (blue on the map) that would stretch for more than 50 miles through major arteries of the city. The Boring Company warned the map is intended as “a concept, not as a finalized alignment” and it wanted to cooperate with county and city governments, as well as the general public.
Musk, who is CEO of the Boring Company as well as Tesla and SpaceX, has done something similar before with great fanfare, and even less approval. In July, Musk caused a stir by announcing a 500-mile underground transit link between major US cities on the east coast.
He later tweeted that the Los Angeles route could be built in parallel with a New York-Washington DC track, followed by connections to San Francisco and a Texas loop (Hyperloop recently held a route competition to pick the most feasible ones). The only problem? None of the cities had publicly confirmed any of Musk’s plans at the time, and all denied any talks had even begun.
A White House spokesman later said the Trump administration had “promising conversations” with Musk, apparently the source of Musk’s verbal approval. In October, Maryland governor Larry Hogan tweeted (paywall) his administration was proud “to support The Boring Company to bring rapid electric transportation to MD — connecting Baltimore City to D.C.” The state issued the Boring Company a utility permit to dig 10 miles of tunnel below state-owned portions of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
Musk has been teasing the arrival of the tunnels for months. In October, Musk wrote on Twitter that his company had bored 500 feet of the 2 miles (10,560 feet) that it plans to complete over the next four months. It received approval to build a two-mile test tunnel in August from Hawthorne’s city council.