On June 3rd, 2020, the San Bernardino Country transportation (SBCTA) agency voted to move forward with a proposal for a high speed tunnel from Elon Musk’s Boring Company. The tunnel would link Rancho Cucamonga with the Ontario International Airport. If finalized, this would mark the third major accomplishment from the company.
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The Boring Company is currently in progress working on the tunnel to connect the Las Vegas Convention Center which has been slated to be operational by CES in January of 2021. The company also won the contract to build an express loop for Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport which is pending.
The SBCTA Authority Board of Directors support and view the tunnel as a cheaper and faster alternative to the other above-ground rail projects. With the unanimous vote for the proposal, staff will begin to pursue the project deeper and postpone the $3 million study that was to be conducted for airport-rail connections.
Curt Hagman, San Bernardino County Supervisor introduced introduced the idea after touring and taking a ride in the test tunnel at The Boring Co. facility in Hawthorne, California.
“It get us thinking in a new way. This is something that can be done relatively quickly and inexpensively.”Curt Hagman / San Bernardino County Supervisor
The proposal involves building a 2.8 mile tunnel that would take passengers in electric cars to and from the airport with speeds up to 127 miles per hour ranging from 90 seconds to 2 minutes to reach its destination. The tunnel would be approximately 14 feet in diameter and 35 feet below ground. The original plan called for customized Tesla cars, however according to Hagman, the company is set to develop electric vans in order to seat more people, up to 12 passengers and their luggage, which would increase the daily capacity of up to 1,200 people per day.
SBCTA estimates the final cost of the project could range near $60 million with costs of upwards of $75 million which is significantly less expensive than the alternative light rail systems that were quoted in the range of $1-1.5 billion.
The Ontario Airport Loop is expected to be complete in approximately 4 years which is again far faster than the 10 years quoted for the construction of light railing systems. The SBCTA Director of Transit and Rail, Carrie Schindler explained in a statement given to local news, “It is much more cost-effective. I do anticipate the need for outside funding but at a reduced level as compared to building surface projects.”
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