Greising: Will Elon Musk's Chicago Dream Come True?

Details must be examined before this deal moves ahead. What little we now know gives the hint of a sweet deal for Musk.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about constructing a high speed transit tunnel with engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company at Block 37 on June 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

This column by BGA President David Greising was published with the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel may never get his Amazon HQ2. Other cities look like they’re the front-runners for one of the biggest job-creation engines of the digital age. But it looks like Emanuel is about to get his Tesla.

Not Tesla, exactly. Boring, actually. As in The Boring Co. As in, the underground transport company — created by Tesla founder Elon Musk — which has won a city of Chicago bid to build a high-speed train project from downtown to O’Hare International Airport.

The joke in the name Boring, of course, is that nothing connected to Musk is in any way mundane. And Boring, in its corporate infancy, has fit the Musk bill. Like all Musk concoctions, it has been borne aloft by the mix of Musk’s Flash Gordon imagination, his preternatural talent for hype, and a Musk record of just-reliable-enough achievement that forces us all to take him seriously, no matter how outlandish the plans seem.

Emanuel is betting on an 18-month-old company that has yet to dig anything but a test tunnel in Southern California. Boring also has run into serious regulatory problems with a proposed Washington-to-Baltimore link. And, his big reveal on Thursday disclosed plans for Chicago that are so scant it requires a Muskian imagination to picture completion any time soon.

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