Mayoral challengers, academics raise caution flags about Musk's O'Hare Express

Posted6/14/2018 1:56 PM

Mayoral challengers, academic experts and aldermen raised caution flags Thursday about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's choice of visionary billionaire Elon Musk to build a high-speed transit system between downtown and O'Hare Airport.

From environmental impacts, regulatory approvals and financing costs to what lies underground and Musk's unproven, low-cost, high-speed tunneling technology, experts and critics raised serious questions about whether or not the $1 billion project would ever get built.


"This is a stretch. The regulatory process alone could become a boogeyman … and God knows what you'll find when you start digging through the city. Who knows if there's gonna be complications like the Big Dig?" said Joe Schwieterman, director of DePaul University's Chaddick Institute.

Schwieterman gave the mayor and Musk high marks for dreaming big and aiming high. But he gave the project only a one-in-three chance of ever getting built. And even if it does, he's afraid Chicago taxpayers could get stuck with at least part of the tab.

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