It seems that we will finally be seeing Elon Musk’s futuristic design for a high-speed public transport system in reality as his tunnel construction company, The Boring Company may soon be winning a contract to build a transportation tunnel from Rancho Cucamonga to the Ontario International Airport. This will be known as the Ontario Airport Loop, the authorities replacing the idea of an above-ground railway network in favor of The Boring Company’s more efficient and cost-effective alternative.
The tunnel will be about 2.8 miles in length, with a 14-feet diameter and 35-feet underground depth. The plan, at least as for now, is to use rubber-tired electric vehicles that can travel up to 127 mph to travel across locations.
Moreover, electric vans developed by Musk’s other company, Tesla, are also being considered. They have a total seating capacity of 12 people along with their luggage. Over the course of a day, they can improve the seating capacity of the entire system by nearly 1,200, assuming there will be that many users. And over the course of a year, about 10 million more people can use it. These might be the vans that the company was planning on using when it was running for the role of building transportation infrastructure for the Chicago Airport.
The transportation authorities are in support of The Boring Company’s system. San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors, for instance, has unanimously voted for the company and deferred a high-profile study meant to investigate alternative airport-railway connections.
As San Bernardino’s County Supervisor Curt Hagman puts it, the Company’s transportation system is much better compared to the conventional options because of its affordability and efficiency. It also takes less time to be constructed.
You can take his word on it. He has experienced the technology first-hand when he visited the Company’s site in Hawthorne and took a test drive in the tunnel. He said, “It gets us thinking in a new way. This is something that can be done relatively quickly and inexpensively.”
The project will cost around $45 to $60 million. However, this estimate doesn’t take into account all the administrative aspects that are necessary for the tunnel’s functioning. Including the cost of creating and running the operations and management departments (the main cost being the salary paid to workers), the cost reaches up to $75 million.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the $1 to $1.5 billion that the company was planning on shelling out for a railway extension project. Carrie Schindler, SBCTA director of transit and rail, agrees with Hagman that it is highly cost-effective, acknowledging that some external funding will be required. Moreover, the Ontario Airport Loop will be completed in around four years, as opposed to ten years for the railway extension project.
Prior to the Ontario Airport Loop project, The Boring Company was contacted for building a loop for the Las Vegas Convention Center. This would be especially useful in attracting tourists to the location by reducing the cost as well as the time of traveling from one point to another within the complex. The company was able to make swift progress on this, having completed the digging of the tunnels.