Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s tunneling venture, the Boring Company, is getting the go-ahead sign on a project to build a transit tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium with one of Los Angeles’ Metro Red Line subway stations.
The Boring Company laid out the plan for the Dugout Loop on its website, saying that the linkup could take baseball fans and concertgoers to the stadium in less than four minutes for a roughly $1 fare.
This ride would be nothing like your typical subway trip: Loopers could book their tickets in advance, through an app-based reservation system that’s similar to what’s used to purchase theater tickets, or buy them over the phone or in person for a given time (say, 5:45 p.m. heading for the stadium).
At least initially, the Dugout Loop clientele would be limited to about 1,400 people per event, or roughly 2.5 percent of stadium capacity. The Boring Company says that capacity could be doubled over time.
Loopers would board electric-powered pods (also known as “skates”) that are based on the Tesla Model X auto design and are capable of carrying 8 to 16 passengers at a time. The skates would be lowered into the tunnel system, and sent autonomously at speeds of 125 to 150 mph from one terminal to the other.
The Boring Company says it’ll cover the cost of digging the roughly 3.6-mile tunnel with no public funding sought. The route’s eastern terminus would be on Dodger Stadium property, and the western terminus would be on property purchased by the Boring Company. Three sites are under consideration, in the vicinity of the Red Line’s Vermont/Beverly, Vermont/Santa Monica and Vermont/Sunset stations.
So what’s the first step? The company says it’s working with consultants as well as the City of L.A. Bureau of Engineering on an environmental impact report that’ll touch on all the challenges involved in digging dozens of feet beneath Los Angeles’ streets. The initial documents are available for public review through Sept. 17, and a public meeting will be held at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 28.
If the Dugout Loop scores a run with the city, the Boring Company estimates it’ll take up to 14 months to build the tunnel and the two Loop Lifts.
The company says its focus on the Dugout Loop means it won’t proceed with its earlier plans to build a proof-of-concept tunnel beneath Los Angeles’ Sepulveda Boulevard. That project was the subject of a high-profile community presentation back in May.
“The Boring Company has made technical progress much faster than expected and has decided to make its first tunnel in Los Angeles an operational one, hence Dugout Loop!” it said in its online project description. Sepulveda and other potential L.A. routes may be considered later.
Another test tunnel, which was dug out starting from a parking lot next door to SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., is now open for school tours.
Los Angeles city officials are clearly rooting for Musk and the Boring Company. The concept came in for an endorsement from L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti via Twitter:
Always exciting to see innovative ideas like the proposed Dugout Loop to @Dodgers Stadium that could help ease congestion on our roads and make our most iconic destinations more accessible to everyone. https://t.co/vleQtpUqnt
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) August 16, 2018
And Musk’s follow-up tweet suggests that he’s pleased with his pitching:
Defeating traffic is the ultimate boss battle
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 16, 2018
Musk has been gritting it out when it comes to his most controversial role, as CEO of Tesla. But the Boring Company has been adding up the business equivalent of base hits, thanks to projects such as Chicago’s O’Hare Express and a proposed Baltimore-D.C. transit tunnel. Will the Dugout Loop produce a home run, or a whiff? Whenever Elon Musk is at the plate, you can count on a nail-biter.