Elon Musk's Boring Co. could start on Chicago loop in three months

The transit system will use electric vehicles to whisk people from downtown Chicago to O'Hare in about 12 minutes.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Chicago Cityscapes And City Views

Musk Boring Co. aims to whisk airline passengers between Michigan Avenue and O'Hare Airport in 20 minutes.

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The Boring Company said late Wednesday it won a contract to build a high-speed express system to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Under the contract, Elon Musk's company will design, fund, build and operate a high-speed loop connecting O'Hare Airport with downtown Chicago, the company said on its website. The plan comes in response to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's request last year for proposals to build and operate a high-speed rail line that will whisk passengers from the airport to downtown in 20 minutes or less.

"We're really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!" the company said in a tweet.

The system will use electric vehicles that carry up to 16 people through underground tunnels at more than 100 miles per hour, making the nonstop trip from downtown Chicago to O'Hare in about 12 minutes, reports CBS News

Musk, who founded The Boring Company in 2016, said Thursday during a press conference in Chicago that digging for the tunnels could start in three to four months -- once the company's received regulatory and environmental approval. The first passengers could climb aboard in three years, he said.

"This transformative project will help Chicago write the next chapter in our legacy of innovation and invention," Emanuel said in a statement.

Musk, the brains behind SpaceX and Tesla, created Boring to build transport tunnels as an alternative means of transportation and a way to alleviate traffic congestion. But Musk's plan for Chicago is a little different than his Hyperloop, a futuristic form of transportation that uses electromagnetic pulses to shotgun passengers through low-pressure tubes at near-supersonic speeds.

"A Loop is like a Hyperloop, but without drawing a vacuum inside the tube," Musk tweeted in November.

Musk's transportation ambitions aren't isolated to the Windy City. The billionaire entrepreneur has detailed plans for a "personalized mass transit" system in Los Angeles that would carry 16 people per pod and travel at 150 miles per hour from downtown to LA International Airport in eight minutes via a tube.

The Chicago mayor's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

First published, June 13, 11:08 p.m. PT.
Update, June 15 at 7:20 a.m. PT: Adds more information and statement from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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