Elon Musk announced today via Twitter that he is making plans to build at least one tunnel under Los Angeles as part of the Tesla and Space X CEO’s efforts to overcome automobile traffic in that city. A few weeks ago, the technology magnate issued a series of tweets expressing displeasure with what must have been a particularly bad patch of gridlock, saying, “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” Early this morning, Musk followed up with an update, saying, again via Twitter, “Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.” Responding to a follower who asked exactly where would Musk’s new tunnel be, Musk said, “Starting across from my desk at SpaceX. Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway, which is 5 mins from LAX.”
It is unclear if or how these tunnels will be approved for construction, whether Musk has begun the environmental review process for the tunnels, or if the tunnels will be built using solely private investment or whether the local, state or federal governments will help out. Musk has cozied up to President Trump in recent weeks, attending a technology summit at Trump Tower earlier this month and another meeting on manufacturing just after the president was inaugurated, so it’s possible he could have access to some portion of the president’s purported $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Details for that plan is still forthcoming, but early reports indicate it will rely heavily on Public Private Partnerships and will aim to boost highway, bridge, and tunnel infrastructure—not to mention detention centers, and prisons—at the expense of more publicly-oriented and environmentally-friendly infrastructure like rapid-transit. It is also unclear if Musk has considered taking L.A.’s existing rapid transit system when traveling to the airport. There’s a stop on the system’s Green Line at the corner of the block where Space X’s headquarters sits. Additionally, with the Crenshaw / LAX Transit project due to be completed in 2019, getting to the airport should be quick, easy, and only cost $1.75 each way from there. “Traffic,” after all, isn’t something that merely happens in isolation; it’s a phenomenon that happens as a result of individuals using private vehicle transport to get around.
Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2017