- Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. announced that it is ditching its plans for a 2.7-mile high-speed transportation test tunnel under the west side of Los Angeles in favor of a similar project that will serve Dodger Stadium, Reuters reported.
- The decision came after The Boring Co. reached a settlement, the terms of which are confidential, with environmental groups that objected to the project, claiming that the so-called test tunnel was really part of a larger transit system and, therefore, required all the standard environmental reviews. A test tunnel would have been exempt from many of those reviews, a status which the Los Angeles City Council’s public works committee proposed in April.
- Through his Twitter account, Musk said the Westside test tunnel was no longer necessary. The focus will now be on “the Dugout Loop” to and from Dodger Stadium for its 150-mph "electric skate" transit system. The Boring Co. said rides would initially be limited to 1,400 passengers per game or other event but that the number could eventually double. The company also announced that its test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, outside of Musk’s SpaceX headquarters, will be complete on Dec. 10.
Musk, through The Boring Co., has made other proposals for skate or hyperloop systems elsewhere in the U.S. Last year, Musk said he had received verbal approval to start planning a hyperloop system from Washington, DC to New York City, with a stop in Philadelphia, but local officials said they either had not heard about the plan or were waiting for more information.
There has been some progress in that region, however, by way of a DC permit allowing unspecified excavation work at what is believed to be a future potential station site and conditional approval from the state of Maryland to perform some utility tunneling work from Baltimore to DC.
The Boring Co. did score a major win this year, though, when the city of Chicago chose the company to build an express train service from downtown to O'Hare International Airport. The company proposed constructing an underground twin-tunnel system to ferry passengers between downtown and the airport in 12 minutes via electric vehicles that will be able to handle 16 passengers and their luggage. The company's plans include building out an unfinished underground transit station downtown and constructing a new one at the airport.
The system will reportedly be privately financed and operated.