Elon Musk shows off high-speed tunnel beneath Los Angeles

Global Business

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., speaks during an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. Elon Musk has unveiled his underground transportation tunnel, allowing reporters and VIPs to take some of the first rides in the subterranean tube, which the tech entrepreneur says is the answer to what he calls “soul-destroying traffic.” (Robyn Beck/Pool Photo via AP)

It’s been five years since transport entrepreneur, Elon Musk, unveiled his ambitious vision of tunnels beneath the streets of Los Angeles.

Now, the Tesla founder is one step closer: he’s just opened up a test section of one tunnel. It spans two miles and starts at the headquarters of his SpaceX complex in South L.A.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle reports from LA.

Musk opened the doors to the tunnel to the media on Tuesday night.

“It will be smooth as glass. You can weave the Boring Company system of tunnels into the fabric of a city without changing the character of a city. You’re not going to get into anyone’s way. You’re not going to spoil anybody’s view. You can literally build enough tunnels to transport everybody in the United States in LA. There is no limit.”

Musk said he was driven to find an end to what he calls L.A.’s “soul destroying traffic.” The urban sprawl has some of the worst traffic in the world, with tens of millions of cars taking to dozens of freeways daily and very little public transport, compared to other major cities. L.A. has repeatedly been cited as the most polluted city in the United States with one study, from transport analytics firm INRIX, calling it the most congested city in the world for the last six years.

Under Musk’s visions, tunnels will carry passengers in pods, which whizz underground at speeds of up to 155MPH, or 249KMH. But the project has hit some snags along the way: from the inevitable delays with a task so large, to a legal case in which he had to give up a stretch of the tunnel underneath Los Angeles’ affluent Brentwood neighborhood.

Joseph Lyou is the President of the Coalition for Clean Air in California.

“The sad thing is, you look at the plans, things are just going to get worse in Los Angeles over the next few years, decades. So anything will help, right? We just have to do public transportation, alternative transportation and get people get out of cars. So can they help? Yes. Is it going to be easy? No. It’s going to be expensive, probably. Part of the solution? I would hope so,” Lyou said.

The dream for Musk is to have a network of tunnels not just beneath cities, but linking whole metropolises too. One plan would see the journey time from Los Angeles to San Francisco reduced to half an hour. Another, would see Washington DC and New York linked by a similar journey time.
But for now, he’ll have to settle for a test tunnel on the outskirts of Los Angeles as his vision of the future begins to come together: one mile at a time.