Elon Musk just announced on Twitter that the first Boring Company tunnel would open on December 10, with free rides for the public the following day.
Opens Dec 10-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2018
In a follow-up tweet, someone asked whether the December 10 opening was "in real time or Elon time?" and Musk replied, "I think real."
Musk first announced the Boring Company (also on Twitter) in 2016, while stuck in a traffic jam in Los Angeles. He tweeted that traffic was driving him crazy and that he was going to build a big boring machine and just start digging. "It shall be called 'the Boring Company,'" he continued. "Boring, it's what we do." And then, in case anyone thought he was just kidding around: "I am actually going to do this."
And he has. In April last year, the Boring Company released a video showing how the tunnels might work, with cars being lowered on platforms and transported through the tunnel over a track at high speeds--up to 155 miles per hour, according to another follow-up tweet by Musk. "Pods" containing pedestrians and bicycles could travel through the tunnels in a similar way.
The tunnel set to open (hopefully) in December has been described as a "test tunnel" and is in Hawthorne, California, at least partly on land Musk owns. Elsewhere, his proposed tunnels have hit legal snags. A plan to build a 2.7-mile tunnel along Sepulveda Boulevard was given an environmental review waiver by unanimous vote of the Los Angeles City Council Public Works Committee. But shortly afterward, two neighborhood groups sued the city over the waiver. This summer, the Boring Company proposed building a 3.6-mile tunnel between Dodger Stadium and a nearby Metro station. But that project will have to clear many hurdles at both the state and federal levels before it can go forward.
Meantime, in Chicago, the Boring Company has been officially chosen to build high-speed transport between downtown and O'Hare International Airport. But a watchdog group has sued, claiming the city failed to release public documents related to the proposal, putting that initiative on hold as well.
Musk appears to be betting that actually opening a tunnel and inviting the public to try it out will play well in the court of public opinion. And that pressure from constituents who've seen the tunnel in action will help persuade local governments to support the project instead of fight it. It may or may not work, but it's certainly a smart move.