The City of Chicago has been discussing the technology of the future with entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has ambitious transport plans for the city.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been in confirmed talks with Musk about implementing a high-tech digger to bore out an underground high-speed rail line connecting downtown to O'Hare International Airport.
The Tribune said discussions were preliminary, but Musk reportedly plans to see if digging a rail line makes more sense than other possibilities like using an existing railroad right-of-way or double-decking the CTA Blue Line to speed travelers to and from the airport.
A high speed train system through the city has been in a discussion-in-progress the early 1990s.
“Emanuel sees it as a way to improve Chicago's profile with business travelers who don't mind spending $20 or more for a quick trip downtown from the airport on a European-style fast train, as well as continue his own efforts to build a legacy as a transportation infrastructure leader,” the Tribune said.
“It's unclear how soon Musk's futuristic digging company could get to work, but an underground rail line would likely take many years to construct, at great cost.”
Mayor Emanuel confirmed his discussion with Musk earlier this week.
"The other day, because of contact I've had with Elon Musk and his operation for a kind of a tunnel project rather than an existing rail project to be taken over, I sent a team out to look at his tunnel digger as part of this project," Emanuel said to the Tribune.
"He has expressed an interest in what Chicago's doing. And I think that it would be a tremendous investment and job creator, an economic engine for the city that will pay dividends for decades ahead.”
“They are very interested, and we're going to have them now out to the city to explore further what we are doing and planning, and to see if the tunnel approach is an alternative to the ones we've been discussing,” he said.