Elon Musk Company Closes in on Chicago's Airport Express
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's grand plan for luxury express transit service to O'Hare could be a costly distraction from Chicago's more pressing transportation priorities," John Greenfield writes.
The city has announced that Elon Musk's The Boring Company is one of two finalists bidding to plan, build, finance, and operate the O'Hare Express. That fact alone worries Greenfield, who points out Musk's professed disdain for public transit, as well as his proposal's reliance on technologies that do not yet exist. The other finalist is an international consortium of investors and engineers.
Greenfield, who has previously covered the airport transit project for Streetsblog, is skeptical of the mayor's claim that public funds won't be used to construct the route. He also echoes other critics' concerns that the airport express is fundamentally the wrong project for the city; projects that "would actually improve transit access for ordinary Chicagoans," he writes, include rapid transit and speeding up buses.
"The express would be redundant to the existing Blue Line service, which could be made more attractive to visitors and business travelers via some relatively inexpensive upgrades…[I]t might not offer a significant reduction in total travel time. That, along with projected $25-plus ticket prices, could make it hard to generate sufficient ridership."