Currently, Chiagoans can ride to the airport for $5 on a Chicago Transit Authority train, taking about 40 minutes.
The city of Chicago has officially selected Elon Musk's Boring Company to build its transit system between the O'Hare airport and downtown. The line will consist of two parallel tunnels, and it could take as little as 12 minutes to travel from point to point, according to a press release from the city.
Musk's company would pay for the entire thing.
It's a sizeable victory for a company that was launched just 18 months ago, is working with unproven futuristic ideas, and-aside from a test tunnel it is digging in the Los Angeles suburb Hawthorne, California-lacks construction experience.
Previous city officials have tried to implement an express line between Chicago's largest airport and the downtown area but to no avail.
The company and the city are entering the negotiation phase. The city is asking it to "design, build, finance, operate and maintain" the system. The plan comes in response to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's request past year for proposals to build and operate a high-speed rail line that will whisk passengers from the airport to downtown in 20 minutes or less.
Passengers will hop into an eight to 16-seat vehicle travelling up to 150 miles per hour through The Boring Company's 12-feet-wide tunnels, sitting 30 to 60 feet underground. A new station would be built downtown to accommodate this express line. (This means there will be a Loop to The Loop-very cute, Chicago.) Unlike the Hyperloop idea, the tunnels will not be depressurized. "Electric pods for sure", he wrote.
Mayoral spokesman Grant Klinzman told GeekWire in a tweet that the Boring Company won the bid. He said the public will be offered free rides on the Loop service in the coming months, if the company receives regulatory approval. The mayor's office said the project will be funded entirely by The Boring Company, with no taxpayer subsidy. Exact project costs and construction timelines will be negotiated with the contract.
The planned Chicago system will feature what the company calls "electric skates", which are vehicles based on Tesla's Model X SUV. The result gives the young company a big boost in legitimacy as it tries to get transportation projects underway in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.