Everyone will soon forget that Elon Musk laid off 9 percent of his staff earlier this week. Because one of his companies just won a multibillion-dollar bid to bring high-speed public transportation to Chicago, Bloomberg reports.
The train is to be built underground and travel 125 to 150 miles per hour. Each train car will be the size of a large van and hold eight to 16 passengers. The futuristic, high-speed train service, named the Chicago Express Loop, will take passengers from Chicago's O'Hare airport to the city center in just 12 minutes.
Right now, the same trip on Chicago's rickety, sometimes-slow-as-molasses L train takes 60 minutes or more. (Other news outlets are reporting it takes just 40 minutes. As a Chicagoan who has taken this trip many times, I can attest it's at least an hour. At least it's only $5.) But a cab isn't much faster. Traveling to and from the airport by cab in Chicago often takes just as long -- if not longer -- than public transportation because of traffic.
Musk's Boring Company -- named as such because they bore tunnels underground -- beat out three other firms to win the bid. The Boring Company was launched just 18 months ago. So far, the Boring Company's only project is a test tunnel in a suburb of Los Angeles.
"Elon Musk is looking for a place to prove his technology works, and Chicago is rolling out the red carpet for him," Joe Schwieterman, professor at the School of Public Service at DePaul University, told Bloomberg.
Unlike other city projects, no government funding will be used to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the train and its infrastructure. On its website, the Boring Company confirmed the project will be 100 percent privately funded. A source told the Chicago Tribune that the project is estimated to cost less than $1 billion. The city of Chicago also reportedly required that the cost to passengers be less than a taxi ride to and from the airport, about $40 to $50.
The city of Chicago hasn't yet officially announced the news, but the Boring Company confirmed the announcement on Twitter. Elon Musk and the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, are expected to announce the news this afternoon.
We're really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago! https://t.co/cL1e0YfZSw-- The Boring Company (@boringcompany) 14 juin 2018
It's not a done deal yet. A lot of negotiations still need to happen, and there isn't even an agreed-upon route. The project is ambiguous for sure, but we all know Elon Musk is an ambitious guy. He just might be the one to get it done.
"We're taking a bet on a guy who doesn't like to fail -- and his resources," the Chicago Tribune reported. "There are a bunch of Teslas on the road. He put SpaceX together. He's proved something."