Brutalist
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Elon Musk's Crazy Idea to Solve Highway Traffic Looks Like Is Actually Happening

ottobattista
@ottobattista
on Jan 27, 2017 at 10:23AM in Technology, Society, Science, North America

“Plan to start digging in a month or so,” Musk tweeted.

Forget flying cars. Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is going underground as soon as next month, the billionaire teased on Twitter this week. Inspired by Los Angeles’ car congestion, his enthusiasm for tunnels has grown since meeting with President Donald Trump.

“Exciting progress on the tunnel front,” Musktweeted Wednesday morning. “Plan to start digging in a month or so.”

Known for chasing seemingly unattainable goals, the innovator who upturned the mobile finance industry by helping develop PayPal is now sounding quite serious about burrowing underneath L.A. and building new tunnels to alleviate the gridlock above.

Musk may not have to dig too deep into his own pockets, however. Last November, Californians voted in favor of big infrastructure spending, while much of the rest of the country elected President Trump, who has vowed to approve some $1 trillion for shovel-ready jobs.

In 2015, L.A. drivers spent an average of 81 hours idling on freeways, making the city the worst in the country for traffic jams, according to Inrix.

“Traffic is driving me nuts,” Musktweeted in December. “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.”

At the time, Musk declared his future tunneling business to be named The Boring Company. He didn’t come up with the idea out of boredom, though. He just wanted to get to the airport sooner, and who doesn’t? Responding to other tweets, he said his initial project would run from “across from my desk at SpaceX,” to “Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway, which is 5 mins from LAX.”

Musk met with Trump on Monday and praised the anticipated new secretary of state Rex Tillerson the following day on Twitter. Is Musk, a clean energy entrepreneur, making good with an old school oil tycoon? With Trump promising to allocate $1 trillion of taxpayer funds towards infrastructure programs, it’s not a far cry to assume Musk is interested.

Indeed, tunneling largely depends on government spending, which makes up 69.5 percent of the industry’s revenue, USA Today reported.

However, there are still issues of regulation, especially in California and particularly Los Angeles, where permits can be hard to come by. That may be the determining factor as to whether there will be any light at the end of Musk’s tunnel vision.

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