CHICAGO (CBS) — Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk wants to build a high-speed train that would run from Chicago’s Loop to O’Hare International Airport.
Musk tweeted that his Boring Company will compete to design, fund, build and operate the system.
The city is asking for proposals to design, build and operate an express train to the airport. It would take 20 minutes or less to get from Block 37 on Washington Street to the airport, which is half the current travel time.
Mayor Emanuel said the solution to travel frustrations is a high-speed rail line between O’Hare and the city center. He announced Wednesday that the City of Chicago, in coordination with the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for respondents to present their qualifications to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an O’Hare Express operating system through a public-private agreement with the City.
Musk, the brains behind SpaceX and Tesla, created Boring Company to build transport tunnels that provide an alternative means of transportation and alleviate traffic congestion. But Musk’s plan for Chicago is a little different than his Hyperloop, a futuristic form of transportation that, if it ever moves past the drawing board, would use electromagnetic pulses to shotgun passengers through low-pressure tubes at near-supersonic speeds.
In another tweet, Musk said the Chicago plan would use “electric pods for sure. Rails, maybe, maybe not.”
“Express service to and from O’Hare will give Chicagoans and visitors to our great city more options, faster travel times, and build on Chicago’s competitive advantage as a global hub of tourism, transportation and trade,” said Mayor Emanuel, in a statement. “More than a century ago, Daniel Burnham encouraged Chicago to ‘make no little plans,’ and today Chicagoans continue to make big and bold plans with an eye towards the future. Strengthening connections between the economic engines of downtown Chicago and O’Hare airport, at no cost to taxpayers, will build on Chicago’s legacy of innovation and pay dividends for generations to come.”
The Mayor said it is an idea whose time has come.
“If London and Hong Kong and Tokyo and Toronto can office this service, the city of Chicago can and must also offer it. We have been hearing from potential investors and companies from around the world about their interest in this project,” he said.