Elon Musk comes out of a Los Angeles tunnel but pursues another

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has abandoned the project to build a high-speed passenger tunnel under the west of Los Angeles, but is proposing a similar proposal throughout the city. , aiming to bring baseball fans to Dodger Stadium.

PHOTO FILE: Elon Musk arrives to speak at the Boring Company meeting in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA, May 17, 2018. REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson

The well-known underground transport company Musk, the Boring company, has given up developing a 4.4-kilometer tunnel in the west of Los Angeles to settle disputes brought by community groups opposed to the project, have Wednesday announced in a joint statement the two sides. .

The move comes six months after Musk, the high-tech baron best known as the founder of electric car company Tesla Inc. (TSLA.Oand CEO of space rocket maker SpaceX, made a rare personal appearance at a public event in Los Angeles to promote his controversial tunnel project.

At the time, Musk boasted of his intention to offer free rides in the tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard in order to elicit public feedback before continuing with a much larger network that he had envisioned for the metropolitan area of ​​Los Angeles.

But opponents have accused Musk of trying to evade a lengthy environmental investigation required for such projects by seeking an exemption on the basis of what his company had claimed to be a small-scale demonstration of the fact that the company was doing business. a broader concept.

The precise terms of the court settlement were confidential, according to company spokeswoman Jehn Balajadia and plaintiff attorney John Given.

"The parties (…) have settled the case amicably," the statement said. "The Boring Company is no longer trying to develop the Sepulveda test tunnel, but is looking to build an operational tunnel at the Dodger stadium."

The plans for the so-called Boring Loop, an underground high-speed transit corridor between Dodger Stadium and one of three existing subway stations along the city's red metro line , were unveiled several months ago on the company's website.

A first public hearing on the project, the first major step in a large-scale regulatory review of the Dugout Loop, was organized by the city's public works department at the end of August.

In addition, the company announced that a separate shorter tunnel, dug beneath the tiny municipality near Hawthorne, home to Boring and SpaceX, would be completed on December 10.

"From what we've learned from the Hawthorne test tunnel, we're going ahead with a much larger tunnel network under Los Angeles," Musk said in a tweet on Wednesday: Will not need a second test tunnel under Sepulveda. "

According to Boring, the Hawthorne Tunnel and its Dugout Loop would serve as proof-of-concept sites for an underground tube circulation easing system, allowing pedestrian vehicles called "skids" to be moved from one location to another at a speed of 240 km / h per hour).

The Dodger stadium tunnel will initially be limited to about 1,400 passengers per event, or about 2.5% of the baseball stadium capacity, but the number of passengers could possibly be doubled, the Boring website said. He said the rates would only cost $ 1 per trip.

In June, Boring was chosen by the city of Chicago to build a 17-kilometer underground transportation system linking the city's downtown to O'Hare International Airport. The company also proposed an east coast loop that would connect downtown Washington, D.C., to the suburbs of Maryland.

Musk, known for aggressively meeting large-scale technical challenges with which he had little experience, launched his foray into public transit after complaining of LA traffic on Twitter at the end of 2016, then promising to "build a boring machine and start digging. "

Report by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Edited by Lisa Shumaker

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