Elon Musk’s promised solution for congestion—the Boring Co.—has proven most successful at disappearing on the governments that trusted them.
Ted Mann and Julie Bykowicz write in a paywalled article for the Wall Street Journal about the track record of the Boring Company in delivering on its boasts:
The six-year-old company has repeatedly teased cities with a pledge to “solve soul-destroying traffic,” only to pull out when confronted with the realities of building public infrastructure, according to former executives and local, state and federal government officials who have worked with Mr. Musk’s Boring.
The list of cities burned by Boring expectation includes Chicago, Maryland, Los Angeles, and Ontario, California. Meanwhile, the one city with evidence of the Boring Company’s work is Las Vegas. “There, Teslas with hired drivers ferry convention-goers through neon-lit white tunnels at speeds of about 30 miles an hour,” according to the article. The reports of the Las Vegas tunnels have been far less diplomatic.
The experience of Ontario is particularly informative for the article, noting that the city has responded to increased traffic to and from the Ontario International Airport by planning a $1 billion “street-level rail connection” between the airport and a commuter train station 4 miles away. “For just $45 million, Mr. Musk’s Boring Co. offered to instead build an underground tunnel through which travelers could zip back and forth in autonomous electric vehicles,” according to the article.
The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority reached a preliminary $45 million deal with Boring reached in in February 2021, before revising the cost estimate for the project to $500 million in late 2021. “The authority asked for a third-party environmental review, required by state law, of the Boring proposal’s impact, records show,” write Mann and Bykowicz. “That’s when the process came to a halt.”
Additional anecdotes and documented history from Las Vegas and Maryland are also provided in the paywalled source article below. Despite the track record of failures, other jurisdictions around the country appear poised to repeat the same mistakes, including, according to the article, Fort Lauderdale and North Miami Beach. Ontario is still moving forward with the tunnel idea, and, according to the article, would still welcome a bid from the Boring Co.
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