Elon Musk is a man that likes to change his mind at the drop of a hat. In the last month, he backed out of buying Twitter after saying he would. And now, as the Daily Bulletin reports, his Boring Company has backed out of a deal to dig a tunnel in Ontario, California. Oddly enough, despite this now failed deal, city and county officials still really want the tunnel.
In early 2021, it was announced that Ontario had reached an agreement with The Boring Company to dig two tunnels totaling four miles from the local airport to a local commuter train station in the next city. Musk’s company claimed it could construct the tunnels for $85 million, and have them up and running by late 2023 or early 2024.
The city and county jumped at it. They could not only save money, but also increase passenger volume at both the airport and the local Metrolink commuter train lines. It was also cheaper than the alternative, the option the majority of the surrounding local area wants, that costs significantly more than the tunnels at over a billion dollars.
That more costly plan would take the LA Metro rail line into San Bernardino County. And it would be easy to connect the two, as the Gold Line extension, has been brought close to the county line and is nearing completion. But county officials don’t want the line extension, saying it viewed the plan as LA County trying to exert its influence over decisions they feel they should be making. San Bernardino County prefers funds be used on this tunnel or improving existing rail lines for the Metrolink. So in the meantime, traffic has gotten worse and this is all wrapped up in a lot of red tape.
The Boring Company’s exit from the project, coincided with a review San Bernardino County officials ordered for the tunnel’s impact on the area. Which, is interesting in itself. What is the company afraid of...?
Now like a person in a relationship who hasn’t accepted the breakup, city and county officials still want the project to move forward. A San Bernardino County Transportation Authority spokesperson told the Bulletin “We’re moving forward because we still think it’s a good project. It’s the Boring Company’s innovation that got us thinking about it. We definitely applaud their vision.” They add, “but nothing would preclude them participating in any portion of the process going forward,” either solo or in a partnership.”
The county is truly hoping The Boring Company comes back to the table. What’s even worse about this situation, is construction costs have increased and the operational date has moved further out, with costs now up to $492 million and an opening date of 2027. Any way you look at it, the light rail really does make more sense.