- Elon Musk touted a partnership between the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) and The Boring Company, his tunnel-digging venture.
- The MTA said in a statement on Thursday night that it would coordinate with The Boring Company on a test tunnel near Sepulveda Boulevard, one of the busiest roads in Los Angeles.
- It’s all part of The Boring Company’s broader effort to develop a system of tunnels that could create the infrastructure needed for alternative mass transit.
Elon Musk touted a partnership between The Boring Company and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) on a tunnel concept being constructed near one of the busiest roads in LA.
In a statement posted, the MTA said it would coordinate with The Boring Company on a test tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard. One of the goals for that partnership is to limit interference with an existing high-speed transit study that’s already underway in the area.
The test tunnel will stretch nearly three miles along Sepulveda on LA’s Westside, one of the most traffic-congested parts of the city. The Boring Company has already built a shorter tunnel in nearby Hawthorne, where SpaceX’s headquarters is located.
That announcement on Thursday night preceded a public event Musk held in the LA suburb of Bel Air on Thursday night, during which he and Boring Company officials talked about its tunneling activities and took questions from members of the community. It’s part of Musk’s effort to get city agencies on board with the project, which is already facing some court challenges from two neighborhood organizations.
Locals have expressed some practical concerns about the tunneling effort, including whether it is safe to dig beneath a region that’s prone to natural hazards like earthquakes, and whether underground utilities would be affected.
On the question of risks to utility lines, Musk said The Boring Company’s machines are digging below them. “Once you get below 20 or 30 feet .. it’s just rock, basically,” Musk said.
The Boring Company’s tunneling effort could create the infrastructure needed for new forms of transit, like Hyperloop.
On that note, Musk talked about one transit concept on Thursday night, called Loop, a zero-emissions high-speed transit system that could travel up to 150 mph, and carry passengers from downtown LA to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in eight minutes.
Fares for Loop could cost as little as $1 per person, Musk suggested, though the actual cost will likely depend on a number of factors, and require input from multiple local and regional agencies.
“Highways are at the outer limit of their capacity,” Musk said, adding that there are physical limitations to how wide a city can expand a freeway. At the beginning of the event, the billionaire entrepreneur who also helms Tesla and SpaceX lamented how congested road traffic is in LA, specifically on Interstate 405, one of the most highly trafficked freeways in the US.
Still, questions about the test-tunnel project largely dominated the meeting. The site of that tunnel is about 10 miles away from the largely affluent neighborhood, where locals are typically averse to projects that might disrupt the community.
“You won’t hear us, you won’t see us, you won’t feel us. … We’re invisible,” one company executive said.
“We are going to do everything right, we are going to be the best possible community member,” he said.