With The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s tunnels lead to emptiness and failure

With The Boring Company, Elon Musk's tunnels lead to emptiness and failure

It was in 2016 that Elon Musk decided to found The Boring Company (TBC), a company whose name he found himself, which means both “drilling company” and “the boring business”. A play on words of which he is very proud and who called many otherswhich probably didn’t bode well for a company with ambitious goals – at least on paper.

There was potential in the very principle of TBC, namely to install tunnels to improve circulation in certain very congested areas. If it had worked, part of the American population would undoubtedly have blessed the billionaire, and the rest of the world would not have been slow to take inspiration from his initiative. But things didn’t exactly turn out as planned.

After having built a tunnel in 2020 on the Las Vegas side, allowing the circulation of autonomous shuttles (Tesla brand, what else) to transport groups of sixteen people, the company wanted to embark on other projects.

At TBC, we had learned of the existence of a rail link project between the Ontario International Airport and a station allowing to take a commuter train, more than 6 kilometers away. Announced cost of the operation: 1 billion dollars, or 965 million euros.

Representatives of The Boring Company then arrived with a bang, offering to install one of their tunnels for the modest sum of 45 million dollars, less than 5% of the initial budget. The occasion making the thief, the transport authority wishing to carry out this connection accepted with enthusiasm. And that’s when things started to go wrong.


Because as in other cities before, TBC then seems to have got bogged down in authorizations, building permits and environmental constraints, quickly showing itself unable to respect the announced schedule. In fact, apart from the Las Vegas tunnel, much criticized for its low capacity and its total inability to resolve traffic jams, Elon Musk’s company has not yet completed any project.

On the side of the Ontario airport, it is recognized that the low cost of the project, associated with the prestigious name of Elon Musk, weighed in the balance at the time of the choice. And we also admit that, eighteen months later, when the provisional budget went from 45 to 500 million dollars when nothing had progressed, we began to say to ourselves that we had made the wrong choice.

However, it was The Boring Company that began to backtrack, when the sponsors requested an external audit on compliance with environmental issues. Similar stories, where enticing projects signed TBC turned into Arlesians to finally turn into blood sausage, there were several on American territory.

A sum of chess

On the side of the State of Maryland, after more than a year spent waiting for the start of the promised work, it was thus discovered that The Boring Company had removed the project from its own website. In Chicago, it was the former mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who finally said stop after sensing – a little late, but soon enough – that his desire to have TBC connect O’Hare airport and the business was going to end in a gigantic crash.

Same story in Los Angeles, where a high-speed tunnel project linking the Hollywood subway line to Dodger Stadium (about 5.8 kilometers) never saw the light of day, despite big announcements. pump.

Despite this accumulation of flops, it seems that some communities continue to place orders, convinced that TBC has learned from its mistakes and that the next projects will be the right ones.

The Boring Company’s competitors aren’t so sure, claiming that its promises of high-speed travel and lower manufacturing costs are currently totally unrealistic. About embittered adversaries or competent professionals? Given the liabilities of Elon Musk’s company, it is permissible to lean towards the second option.