Proposal by Elon Musk’s Boring Company for tunnel in Florida’s Fort Lauderdale may be accepted – but other companies would get a chance to bid too

The Boring Company founder Elon Musk talks into a microphone in front of a tunnel lit in blue
The Boring Company founder Elon Musk in 2018.

  • Fort Lauderdale officials on Tuesday will vote on whether to accept The Boring Company’s proposal.
  • If accepted, the project would be opened for bids from other tunneling companies.
  • Mayor Dean J. Trantalis said the beach-to-city tunnel would be called “The Las Olas Loop.”
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Fort Lauderdale officials on Tuesday will vote on whether to accept a proposal from The Boring Company to build a passenger tunnel between the beach and downtown.

The “Las Olas Loop” would be the second major project for founder Elon Musk’s tunneling company. The Florida city said it received a proposal on Wednesday.

“Fort Lauderdale would be the first city on the East Coast – and only the second city in the world – to benefit from The Boring Co.’s technology,” officials in the tourist destination said in a Thursday statement.

If City Commission officials accept the proposal next Tuesday, they’ll then open up a competitive bidding process to other tunneling firms. The Boring Company’s plans won’t be made public until the bidding process ends, the city said.

“Called ‘The Las Olas Loop,’ this represents an innovative and unprecedented approach to addressing traffic congestion and transit needs,” Mayor Dean J. Trantalis said on Twitter on Wednesday.

A Tesla vehicle drives into a round tunnel made by The Boring Company in Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop in June.

The company’s Las Vegas underground transportation system launched with a press event in April, followed by a public opening in June. The 1.7-mile loop under the Las Vegas Convention Center has three stops. The company said it cost about $47 million to build.

Las Vegas city councilors in December approved an expansion into downtown, with plans to connect to McCarran International Airport. A trip from the Las Vegas strip to the airport could take about seven minutes via a tunnel, according to officials.

Officials in Fort Lauderdale said they initially made contact with The Boring Company to talk about “underground alternatives to the construction of a high-rise commuter rail bridge over the New River.”

They added: “When corporate executives later visited the city, they asked to look at other transportation needs of our city.”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Musk also met in February to discuss a $30 million tunnel under the city.

“I think we have a unique opportunity to create a signature project not just for Miami, but for the world,” Suarez said at the time.

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An 1870s-era rail tunnel used by Amtrak could be a possible beneficiary of federal infrastructure funding

Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel
An Amtrak train emerges from the 1870s-era Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Amtrak and Maryland released a plan for a new $4 billion tunnel along the vital Northeast Corridor.
  • The new tunnel would replace the existing 1870s-era tubes, which are a major rail chokepoint.
  • As Congress debates a new infrastructure bill, projects like the Baltimore tunnel stand to benefit.
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Amtrak and the state of Maryland last week came to an agreement on a $4 billion plan to replace the deteriorating Baltimore & Potomac (B&P) Tunnel in Baltimore, a key bottleneck along Amtrak’s heavily trafficked Northeast Corridor, according to The Washington Post.

The replacement tunnel is slated to be built in the next decade, with the tunnel having the ability to transport electric-powered trains.

For years, the current tunnel has transported Amtrak, Maryland’s MARC commuter trains, and commercial rail traffic through the state’s largest city.

But trains slow down to 30 miles per hour along the 148-year-old two-track tunnel, which often creates delays throughout the rail corridor.

A replacement tunnel, roughly half a mile north of the existing tubes, would allow trains to move up to 100 miles per hour. It would be named after the noted abolitionist and Maryland native Frederick Douglass.

According to The Post, the B&P Tunnel, built in 1873 and the oldest tunnel inherited by Amtrak, is “the biggest chokepoint between Washington and New Jersey.”

Read more: Meet 7 BidenWorld longtime consiglieres and a couple relative newcomers who have access to exclusive White House meetings

Funding has not yet been appropriated for the project, which would need federal and state money to proceed.

As Congress tries to hammer out a comprehensive infrastructure plan, projects like the B&P Tunnel reflect what is at stake in the national debate over the country’s aging transportation networks.

amtrak joe biden
US Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden greets supporters after arriving on an Amtrak train for a campaign stop in Alliance, Ohio, on September 30, 2020.

While there has been no guarantee of money for the B&P Tunnel project, President Joe Biden, who routinely took Amtrak during his 36-year Senate career representing Delaware and is one of the railroad service’s biggest advocates, would likely identify the new tunnel to lawmakers as an exigent project.

Four years ago, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposed a replacement project that would have included four single-track tunnel tubes, while the current plan calls for two tunnel tubes to be built, according to The Post.

Two additional tunnel tubes could then be constructed in a potential second phase of construction, according to Amtrak.

The FRA has classified the current tunnel as “structurally deficient,” with Amtrak stating that it “is not suited for modern high-speed train operations due to tight clearances and sharp curves.”

Amtrak is asking for $257 million for the project from Congress this year.

GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland last week emphasized the multi-jurisdictional importance of the B&P Tunnel project.

“This is a critical project not just for Baltimore and the state of Maryland, but for the entire Northeast Corridor of the United States, and we plan to work with Amtrak and the federal government to move it forward as expeditiously as possible,” he said.

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Miami’s Mayor will tour Elon Musk’s Las Vegas tunnels as the two discuss plans for a Florida project

Boring company los angeles
Boring tunnel Los Angeles

  • The mayor of Miami plans to visit The Boring Company’s tunnels in Las Vegas.
  • In February, Elon Musk told the mayor he could build a tunnel in Miami for $30 million.
  • The city has been looking into constructing a tunnel, but estimated a $900 million cost.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez will visit the Boring Company’s newly constructed tunnels in Las Vegas on March 18 to investigate plans for a tunnel under his own city.

Suarez told the Miami Herald on Monday he plans to visit the tunnels built by Elon Musk’s startup to investigate whether it would be feasible to build a tunnel under the Brickell Avenue bridge in Miami.

“I’ve been in constant communication with Steve Davis, the CEO of The Boring Company, with the hope and expectation we can go up there and see if there’s a solution for our community,” Suarez told the paper.

The mayor will be accompanied by several other city officials.  The group will be continuing an effort that Miami has pursued for many years. In 2018, Miami-Dade County transit officials said the two-mile tunnel under the Miami River would cost nearly $1 billion and take about four years to construct.

In February, Suarez told the Miami Herald Musk had offered to construct the tunnel for around $30 million in about six months. Musk’s company has long been focused on streamlining the tunnel digging process. In July, Boring Company announced plans to host a competition to see who could dig the fastest tunnel. The winners will be announced this summer.

The previous month Musk tweeted about the project. “Cars & trucks stuck in traffic generate megatons of toxic gases &  particulate, but @boringcompany road tunnels under Miami would solve traffic & be an example to the world,” Musk said.

The Boring Company has active construction projects and planned future projects across the country, including in Los Angeles and the Baltimore-Washington areas, though none are as close to completion as those in Las Vegas. In other places, like Chicago, his venture has beenmet with a more skeptical eye

The startup just recently celebrated the completion of its first full project at the Las Vegas site after several months of delays in the construction for the 0.8 mile tunnel. In January, Musk posted a picture of himself with three of his children at the tunnels.

Construction on the Las Vegas loop began in 2019, but the site has been closed since the pandemic started. In December, the Las Vegas City Council granted Musk’s company a special permit to extend the Vegas Loop tunnel into a 4.6 mile circuit.

The Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis visited The Boring Company’s tunnel projects in Las Vegas and Los Angeles in February. The city is investigating the possibility of constructing a tunnel for trains under the New River.

 

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