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Tunnel vision: We get it, putting a Tesla in a tunnel does not make a “train,” even if that’s what Elon Musk called it Tuesday night on Twitter. After his Boring Company took reporters on a bumpy ride through its mile-long tunnel beneath an industrial park near L.A., rail fans were either laughing or hanging their heads at Musk’s tendency to displace more proven, efficient modes of transit from conversation. But there’s one piece of the demonstration that’s hard to discard and that is the price: Musk said the demonstration tunnel cost only $10 million per mile to dig.
That figure excludes costs of research, development, and equipment, and it’s unclear how property acquisition or labor factor in. But even if this tunnel cost $50 million a mile, it would still be a fraction of what comparable projects cost, which have averaged between $200 million and $500 million per mile in the United States (and don’t forget the record-breaking $2.6 billion per mile New York paid for the Second Avenue Subway). If Musk’s company has made a boring machine that does the job cheaper and faster than what civil engineers thought possible, that could be a boon for underground transit systems in the United States, writes Laura Bliss. Today on CityLab: Dig Your Crazy Tunnel, Elon Musk!
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