Both projects in the United States are currently involved in environmental review regulatory no-man land and have not yet landed.
Four years ago, Elon Musk undertook an ambitious project to connect Washington and Baltimore with an underground tunnel. A year later, Musk’s tunneling company Boring Co. announced another splash effort: to build an underground transit system for fans ’shuttles at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Today, both are nearing completion.
Both projects are currently operated as a regulator Environmental Review has no human land and no broken land. Now, Boring Co has removed all their references from their website – a suggestion that Musk is moving away from projects.
“Large infrastructure projects tend to linger long in people’s minds after they die peacefully,” said Dena Belzer, president of Consulting Strategy at the University of California at Berkeley and lecturer in regional planning. “I think you can declare this dead.”
The Baltimore-to-Washington Loop, the term of the boring cone for the electric-vehicle-in-tunnel system announced in 2017, has made it the farthest point of the two. Boring Co. bought part of Washington’s property that could serve as a potential station, and in 2019 Maryland and federal transportation officials released an environmental assessment of their 411-page draft project. That was two years ago. If the next step comes, the Federal Highway Administration will announce that the project will have no impact or trigger a more in-depth review known as the Environmental Impact Study.
The dugout loop announced in 2018 has not yet made it. Last year, city officials said the project was under environmental review in this case, which means an outside agency is studying the environmental impacts of the project. No report was made public. When asked about the current state of the dugout loop, officials referred the inquiries to Boring Co., which did not respond to emailed questions.
The Los Angeles Dodgers also declined to comment. Maryland’s Department of Transportation has referred questions to the states Boring Co. and the Federal Highway Administration, which said whether the agency is moving forward and which schedule answers any questions only the agency can
Expectations for the dugout loop were particularly high. Three years ago, the then chief financial officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tucker Kane, spoke of plans to take fans from the surrounding area to the team’s stadium within minutes. But last year, a deadline passed with no tunnels opening.
The stalled progress of the two large projects of the Boring Core points to a number of structural and regulatory challenges for the Musk company, whose goal is to build deep underground and shuttle Tesla vehicles through them. This included plans for a tunnel at Chicago O’Reilly International Airport when its biggest champion, then-mayor Rahm Emanuel, said he would not run for re-election by the end of 2018-2018. Another proposal for a tunnel west of Los Angeles died. After residents sued. And the Baltimore-Washington tunnel itself has shrunk from the initial sight of the New York-Washington link.
Despite such push, Boring Co has taken action in recent months. Officials at the convention center in Las Vegas last week unveiled the just-completed one-mile-long system in front of reporters. Meanwhile, the company’s plans to add a broader city-wide system to Las Vegas are moving forward with initial approval from authorities. A city spokesman said the agency was studying the soil and groundwater situation before applying for a permit.
For other projects, it is still possible that the dugout loop or the DC-to-Baltimore loop will one day be restored. “Things are back in the form of a package,” said consultant Belzer. “You can always qualify by denying your death certificate a zombie claim.”