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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Chicago taps Musk's firm to build high-speed tunnel to O'Hare

Musk's proposal calls for "electric skate" vehicles to whisk passengers through underground tunnels at speeds up to 150 mph.
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The Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) has selected business magnate Elon Musk's Boring Co. to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a new high-speed tunnel between downtown Chicago and O'Hare International Airport.

Known as the Chicago Express Loop, the new system will feature "electric skate" vehicles that will whisk passengers through underground tunnels at speeds up to 150 mph, according to The Boring Co.'s website.

Based on a modified Tesla Model X chassis, the skates will transport eight to 16 passengers per ride. The battery-powered vehicles will be mechanically confined to a concrete track and will produce no emissions.

The vehicles will provide 12-minute trips between O'Hare and downtown, which is about three to four times faster than existing transportation systems, company officials said. The Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line trains make the trip in about 45 minutes.

"The Boring Co. aims to alleviate soul-destroying traffic by constructing safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly public transportation systems," company officials said.

The new system is expected to cost less than $1 billion, the Chicago Tribune reported.

CIT received four proposals to build a new high-speed rail line to O'Hare. In March, two teams were qualified to bid on the project: The Boring Co. and the O'Hare Xpress team, which consists of Meridiam, Antarctica Capital LLC, JLC Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald and First Transit.

The Boring Co.'s rendering of the proposed high-speed project.

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More News from 6/14/2018