Chicago Authorities Sued Over Selection of Musk’s Boring Company for Major Infrastructure Project
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – August 30, 2018
A government watchdog agency known as the Better Government Association (BGA) has filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago over the selection of Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build and operate an express service to O’Hare International Airport.
The idea of a high-speed rail link between Chicago's O'Hare Airport and its highly-trafficked downtown has been kicked around for decades.
The Boring Company project is supposed to replace a $400 million railway system that was never completed, and which taxpayers are still repaying. The city's mayor Rahm Emanuelannounced in June that it would utilize the services of The Boring Company to build its underground tunnels, the company plans to utilize the unfinished underground transit station at Block 37 and create a new station at O’Hare. The planned route travels straight northwest from downtown following public way alignments. Each vehicle will be able to carry up to 16 passengers, plus their luggage, and will depart from O’Hare and from Block 37 as frequently as every 30 seconds, traveling over 100 miles-per-hour, mayor’s press office release says.
Express service to O'Hare airport in my 39th district, just 12 minutes travel time from loop, electric vehicles in underground tunnels. #cool #progress Block 37 City of Chicago announcement today w/Mayor Emanuel, Elon Musk @boringcompany. pic.twitter.com/bdC2hlK7HZ— Don Harmon (@DonHarmonIL) June 14, 2018
However, Chicago's administration refused to disclose relevant documents that include information about the project's costs or The Boring Company's qualifications to build the system, saying that any proposals which are not yet settled upon are exempt from being disclosed in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The FOIA request states that the contractor has not yet entered into a binding agreement with the agency and has not ushered a final contract with established terms or costs for the public to view.
That is why the BGA agency feels that the FOIA exemption, the city's reasoning for withholding the requested information, is in violation of the FOIA.
BGA is particularly interested in the costs associated with the project. It has reportedly filed several FOIA requests with the city in order to better understand and report on the project's spending, The Drive wrote.
“We’re really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago,” The Boring Company tweeted.
In 2017, Musk’s plan for a network of underground tunnels from Los Angeles International Airport to Sherman Oaks faced a lot of skepticism, Los Angeles Business Journal wrote.
When asked what hurdles The Boring Company would have to clear in order to dig under Santa Monica, City Manager Rick Cole, a former L.A. deputy mayor, replied without hesitation.
“We would laugh them out of our office,” he said. “It’s a completely absurd pipe dream.”