Elon Musk’s Boring Company and O’Hare Xpress were selected, and are now eligible, to submit proposals for an express transit project that would take 20 minutes or less from O’Hare International Airport to downtown.
The mayor’s office announced that out of the four companies that responded to the city’s initial query, Boring Company and O’Hare Xpress LLC, will move forward in the process. The Boring Company, focused exclusively on tunneling, is owned by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk while O’Hare Xpress is a joint venture from Meridiam, Antarctica Capital, JLC Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald and First Transit. The two are now able to pitch formal proposals for the project which are due Friday, May 18th.
Both have the ability to deliver the transit project without a taxpayer subsidy. Officials have said independent financing is necessary for proposals to move forward. While cost estimates for the project are not known yet, the city specifies that revenues from fares and advertising must adequately fund the operation too.
Other requirements for the proposals include a downtown station, an O’Hare station, and travel times no longer than 20 minutes with service frequency every 15 minutes. Premium service fares need to undercut current taxi and rideshare options, which depending on traffic can range from $30 to $40. Companies must also address how the development, which can be above or below ground, would affect existing transportation systems and the environment.
There isn’t much information on what each company plans to do, aside from a brief Twitter thread hinting at electromagnetic pods from Elon Musk back when the city announced the project last year. If executed correctly, the project could help an overcrowded Blue Line. More than 20,000 people travel between O’Hare and downtown daily, with that increasing to 35,000 by 2045.