Musk's Boring Company to build high-speed system

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

The City of Chicago has selected billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's The Boring Company to build a high-speed underground commuter system from the Loop to O'Hare International Airport, one of the world's busiest.

The system will comprise 16-passenger vehicles that will travel up to 240km per hour through a tunnel that will cut the current 30- to 45-minute trip between the airport and Chicago's business district down to 12 minutes, according to Boring's Web site.

The Chicago Tribune and Bloomberg first reported the deal, citing unnamed sources. Reuters has not been able to reach the city or the company for immediate comment.

Boring promised the project will be "100% privately funded".

Musk and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel are expected to announce the proposal on Thursday in Chicago, the Tribune reported.

The deal comes about a month after Musk unveiled a plan to burrow a high-speed network of "personalised mass transit" tunnels under Los Angeles that he said could be built without disturbance or noise at the surface.

Boring's effort to win fast-track city approval of a 4km-long tunnel beneath a busy stretch of Los Angeles' West Side has drawn a court challenge from two neighbourhood organisations.

Resistance to his tunnelling project marks a somewhat new type of challenge for Musk.

Opponents say the exemption Boring seeks from a lengthy environmental review of the Los Angeles test tunnel violates state law forbidding such waivers for large-scope projects on a piecemeal basis.

The Chicago and Los Angeles projects come as Musk wrestles with production problems for the rollout of his highly anticipated Model 3 sedan at Tesla, with some investors concerned his overlapping leadership roles at Boring and his rocket-building firm SpaceX has him spread too thin.

"We're taking a bet on a guy who doesn't like to fail, and his resources. There are a bunch of Teslas on the road. He put SpaceX together. He's proven something," Emanuel said of Musk, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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