The latest city to become transfixed by Musk’s ‘Tesla in a tunnel’ concept
The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s tunneling venture, pitched an underground transit system to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the town’s mayor said in a tweet. It’s the latest city to become transfixed by Musk’s quixotic “Tesla in a tunnel” concept.
It’s not a done deal, but Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis called it “an innovative and unprecedented approach to addressing traffic congestion and transit needs.” Trantalis said the project, which would be called the “Las Ollas Loop,” would connect Fort Lauderdale’s downtown to the beach.
Fort Lauderdale has received a proposal from Elon Musk's The Boring Co. to build an underground transit loop between downtown and the beach. Called “The Las Olas Loop,” this represents an innovative and unprecedented approach to addressing traffic congestion and transit needs.
— Mayor Dean J. Trantalis (@DeanTrantalis) June 30, 2021
To be sure, the Boring Company has only dug three tunnels — a test tunnel in Los Angeles and two 0.8-mile tunnels underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center — and has yet to be proven out as a functional transit system. Musk’s early idea of an underground transit system for high-frequency autonomous electric “sleds” capable of carrying dozens of people has been scrapped in favor of a system that can only accommodate individual Tesla vehicles. And industry experts have cast Musk’s efforts as little more than “hot air.”
Nonetheless, Musk has managed to impress a handful of city officials with his concept Teslas ferrying passengers through neon-lit tunnels. In addition to Fort Lauderdale, the Boring Company has also proposed a $30 million loop system in Miami. Previous projects, such as a proposed 35-mile Washington, DC-to-Baltimore tunnel and a Chicago loop system, appear to be canceled. (The DC-to-Baltimore project has disappeared from the company’s website.)
According to the city, the Boring Company reached out earlier this year to “discuss underground alternatives to the construction of a high-rise commuter rail bridge over the New River.”
“The underground transit loop would provide quicker and more efficient access between downtown and the beach as well as alleviate street-level traffic,” the city said in a statement.
More details about the Fort Lauderdale proposal, such as the length of the tunnel and the total cost, are still unknown. The city says that state law prohibits the release of the specifics of the plan until the competitive process is concluded. The City Commission is scheduled to vote on whether to accept the proposal on July 2nd, during which other firms can come forward with competing ideas.