Featured image: The Boring Company
Elon Musk received the support of officials to create a high-speed tunnel in Las Vegas. To drive in the Tesla tunnels, together with The Boring Company, will develop special electric vans that can accommodate up to 12 people and their luggage.
San Bernardino County Transportation Agency voted on The Boring Co.'s offer on Wednesday, June 3 from Elon Musk on the creation of a high-speed tunnel linking the Cucamonga Ranch to Ontario International Airport.
By unanimous vote, the Board of Directors of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority supported this idea by inviting staff to specify the proposal and postpone a $3 million study of other airport-rail connections, according to Mercury News.
The tunnel idea is seen as a cheaper, faster alternative to above-ground rail projects, including the extension of the electric-powered “L” Line light-rail, formerly the Gold Line, from Pomona into the airport terminal. The zero-emissions train from the Metrolink San Bernardino subway line and the connection to the Riverside heavy rail line, which has a stop south of the airport, were also included in the list of railway alternatives.
Source: The Boring Company
“It gets us thinking in a new way. This is something that can be done relatively quickly and inexpensively,” San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman said after the meeting. Hagman introduced this idea to SBCTA after embarking on a tour of The Boring Co. in Hawthorne and swept in a modified Tesla through a test tunnel.
“I think it is a great way to inexpensively improve transportation corridors,” said 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood, an SBCTA board member, shortly after the vote. He said he would like to consider The Boring Co. for transportation needs in the high desert.
The Boring Co.’s unsolicited proposal would build a 2.8-mile tunnel, 14 feet in diameter and about 35 feet underground. It would take passengers in electric vehicles with rubber tires traveling up to 127 mph to and from the airport. Hagman said that each trip will take from 90 seconds to two minutes.
Source: Jay Leno’s Garage / CNBC
Initially, the proposal contained specially designed Tesla vehicles. But Hagman said the company, together with Tesla, is developing electric vans that can accommodate up to 12 people and their luggage, increasing throughput to 1,200 people a day, or more than 10 million a year.
Known as the Ontario Airport Loop, the project has a cost range of between $45 million and $60 million, said Carrie Schindler, SBCTA director of transit and rail. That could jump to $75 million when adding an operations center, management services and paying operators prevailing wages, Schindler said.
At $60 million, the Loop would cost significantly less than the $1- to $1.5-billion light-rail extension from Pomona and could be built in three to four years rather than the 10 years it would take to extend the light-rail, according to the SBCTA.
“It is much more cost-effective,” Schindler said. “I do anticipate the need for outside funding but at a reduced level” as compared to building surface projects.
Hagman said the agency could use approximately $40 million in Gold Line expansion to create a Loop, and grants from the state, federal district, or South Coast Air Quality Management District make up the difference.
Instead of building a station at the Day Creek flood channel off the San Bernardino Metrolink line, as originally proposed when the project was endorsed by the agency's Transit Committee in May, Schindler said SBCTA is exploring a Loop station closer to the existing Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station.
She said the latest configuration would involve digging the tunnel under either Haven Avenue or Milliken Avenue to ONT’s Terminal 2.
Routes, costs and environmental concerns will be outlined in a staff report to the SBCTA’s Transit Committee either in August or September, Schindler said.