Suarez recently met with the Elon Musk-owned Boring Co. about a potential Miami project, and told Bloomberg he plans to bring the matter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The mayor is campaigning for a transportation system that is similar to the one in the works in Las Vegas, which could potentially connect Miami's Brickell neighborhood to downtown, Grand Central Station, Miami World Center, the Omni area, Wynwood and Little Haiti.
Suarez proposed that Miami implement a company-funded, user-fee based tunnel system, which is similar to The Boring Co.'s plans for a Chicago tunnel. There, the Boring Co. has been selected by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust to design, build, finance, operate and maintain express service between O'Hare Airport and downtown.
The Boring Co. has also begun negotiations with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) to tunnel a 4-mile transit loop from the Metrolink train station in Rancho Cucamonga, CA to nearby Ontario International Airport. The SBCTA unanimously voted in favor of the proposal February, directing transportation authority staff to begin working on the details with The Boring Co. Should the sides reach an agreement, a contract could be prepared for board approval by September, and completion and operation of the people mover could come as early as 2023.
While Suarez has advocated for the project, it's not under his purview, Bloomberg noted. In Miami-Dade's tiered system of government, the county controls the roadways. Additionally, in South Florida, the water table is high, meaning basements, tunnels and other underground work are rare. In fact, some experts have said the initiative would be unviable.
The Boring Co.'s $35 million to $45 million Las Vegas loop project isn't a typical tunneling infrastructure project. Rather than bore tunnels for future railway cars, the Boring Co.'s model is to rapidly and efficiently bore tunnels, which become underground roadways, where autonomous Teslas ferry passengers between stops. The Las Vegas City Council voted unanimously in December to expand the Loop beyond its original plans. The next step toward construction will involve closer inspection of the plans by city staff.
The Las Vegas project began as a loop underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, designed to whisk passengers across the campus in tunnels about a mile long. Plans have expanded, as the city is moving forward on connecting the tunnel to a potential loop beneath the Strip, with stops at the city's airport and Allegiant Stadium.