UPDATE: Musk’s Boring Company Gets Ok To Build 29-Minute New York To D.C Underground Connector


Tunnel would include connections to Philadelphia and Baltimore too.

*UPDATE: New Musk Tweets added at bottom of article

Elon Musk has a gift for making grand announcements that take the world by surprise, and today he just made a doozy.


Tesla Model S riding on The Boring Company sled

According to the billionaire behind Tesla and SpaceX, he has received verbal approval from the government for a project that is mind-boggling vast in scale: A set of interconnected tunnels running between New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC within which to run a Hyperloop of some sort. Speed-wise, he claims this will cut a journey from New York to Washington, DC down to a mere 29 minutes. As this plan was made public on a social networking platform that limits individual missives to 140 characters (Twitter, of course), details are understandably sparse.

The questions we have could probably fill a tunnel from NY to DC — Will this “Hyperloop” use coaches, as envisioned in that original concept, or will it use car-hauling electric sleds that we saw in a recent Boring Company video? Just who in the government gave this approval? A specific agency like the Department Of Transportation, for example, or even higher up like Donald Trump? Wasn’t The Boring Company more of a hobby? Didn’t Musk say he wasn’t interested in creating a Hyperloop himself?

Hyperloop One

While we await answers, here are the few facts we do know. Musk says the tunnels would stretch from “city center to city center” with a dozen or so “entrance/exit elevators in each city.” The Northeast plan would run parallel with the “urban congestion” work being performed in Los Angeles, California, while he also envisions a similar L.A. to San Francisco route, as well as a future loop in Texas.

While it’s hard to imagine this enormous endeavor  ever reaching fruition, Elon Musk has already achieved any number of things previously thought of as impossible. Since this will no doubt also spark endless speculation, both positive and negative, if you need us, we’ll be in the kitchen preparing popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn.

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85 Comments on "UPDATE: Musk’s Boring Company Gets Ok To Build 29-Minute New York To D.C Underground Connector"

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Verbal approval is worth the paper it’s written on.

The government does not own all that land, I don’t see a written eminent domain decree.

Property rights don’t extend up to the sky or down to the core. Living here in Colorado has shown me that when people want to pay the government to dig, they’re going to be allowed to dig.

We will see..mining rights are not tunneling rights.

All tunnels require easements for EACH parcel of property which requires eminent domain for EACH parcel.

Yes, but it is not an eminent domain demolition or an eminent domain eviction, so it is very different.

This isn’t much different than the gas company or the phone company having a utility easement under your land to run buried gas and phone lines. (FYI to our European friends, that how they do things in the US. You own your land, but the utilities own the right to run their utilities under the surface and you don’t have the right to build on top of their easement. This is different from what I understand happens in the EU?)

They would be compensated for the fair market value of their losses or economic harms. Which would be zero unless they could demonstrate otherwise.

He is NOT a utility.

I believe I read another article where Musk states that his depth will be below all other things and is deep enough that he feels he can get regulatory approval to proceed without landowner involvement but rather just govt approval.

Has that ever been tested in court?

Some mines go pretty deep. If I was a lawyer, I certainly would argue that property rights extend right down to the core of the Earth.

I’m not asserting that The Boring Co. can’t get blanket approval to run a deep tunnel under properties without having to get individual permission and/or exercising Eminent Domain, for each parcel of land. What I am saying is that some anonymous person on the internet claiming that is so, is a very long way from it actually being so.

NO, the L.A. Red Line subway had to get easements 800 feet under ground.

So that would be travelling at 500 miles per hour. So this is the Hyperloop not the sleds which were said to go 124mph.
Hyperloop makes much more sense as who wants a car in the center of NY or DC!

Yes Vazzedup. You beat me to it. I got 475 MPH.

Nice. That why I pay money to be here.

VazzedUp said:

“Hyperloop makes much more sense as who wants a car in the center of NY or DC!”

Right. One of several reasons why I think Hyperloop is a much more sensible idea than The Boring Co. concept, is that it does not add passenger cars to the streets of already very congested city centers. In fact, by providing an alternate form of mass transportation, it would eliminate some use of automobiles.

Well if anyone knows what a verbal agreement is worth it’s definitely him.

And anybody that knows trolling, its you DJ.

See, this is the problem with you idiotic Tesla fanboys.

A verbal agreement means nothing. Musk has broken them, the biggest which we know of was his commitment to sell Tesla which he later on backed out of, and you guys get your panties all excited because he was likely out to dinner with some random gov’t official and he was like “Hey, wouldn’t a Hyperloop tunnel from DC to NYC be a great idea” and the gov’t official says “ya, that would be great” and bam he goes and says on Twitter he has verbal approval.

But hey, anything to keep pumping the stock up…

Anybody except an idiotic Tesla Fanboy can realize that this is BS. If the whole CA HS rail debacle can show anything it’s that building something like that in this day and age is a monumental feat and will require a hell of a lot more than what 1 gov’t official out at dinner says.

Hey DJ, idiotic Tesla fanboy reporting. This is the second tunnel. The first one is already being dug in Los Angeles. Oh, and technically, this is an offshoot of SpaceX. My expectation is that Mr. Elon Musk had a discussion with someone in Washington, DC who has a reason to get from there to New York on a regular basis. Maybe someone who has a little political capital left in his presidential career.
As for land right-of-way, sure looks like Interstate 95 fits the bill. Besides, the US Capitol has lots of tunnels underneath it. What’s a few more among New England patriots?

Don’t get why DJ is upset about his troll status…i thought that was obvious to everyone including himself. Cheer up man, we all have to pick sides sooner or later.

Indeed. Having spent so much time and effort — and in such a few short months — establishing his reputation as a Tesla-hating troll, it seems rather odd that he takes offense, or at least pretends to, at being called out for what he is.

DJ continued to bash Tesla supporters:

“But hey, anything to keep pumping the stock up…”

And this is just one example of why you have gotten such a reputation for being a troll in such a short time here.

This is a forum for EV enthusiasts and advocates. We don’t need to own TSLA stock to be fans of Tesla, any more than fans of the Kansas City Royals or the Chicago Cubs need to own stock in the franchise to be fans.

Some of us, probably most of us Tesla supporters and fans, are supporters because of what Tesla has accomplished. If other EV makers ever achieve similar accomplishments, then we’ll be fans of them too. No stock investment required.

I’m sorry that a troll like you can’t understand any motive other than greed for enthusiastically supporting a company. But your obsession with greed and your shriveled soul do not give you justification to come and troll on a forum which is for us — not for you!

Let me guess, it’s going to be cheaper too? Seeing that costs for getting a second set of train tunnels into NYC is already slated to cost north of $20bn, I’ll believe this when I see it.

It’s good to be skeptical.

As he’s repeatedly said, they first have to work on cost reduction. But if they’re going to put any development into practice, having somewhere to dig a long tunnel will be of great help.

If you have look up the reasons why Elon thinks his tunnels will be a lot cheaper, and I will get you started, is that he states one reason is that the diameter of the tunnels he wants to build is much smaller. That right there makes a huge difference in the cost of the tunnel.

Yes the amount of material you have to remove goes up with the square of the diameter

Yes, it makes a huge difference in the cost of construction; it also makes a huge difference in reduced throughput. Far fewer passengers could be carried in a given amount of time through one of his mini-tunnels.

That’s why other companies developing his Hyperloop concept have prototype capsules which are wide enough to fit 3-4 rows of passengers inside, rather than the single row capsules proposed in Elon’s Hyperloop Alpha white paper.

If you want X amount of passenger throughput in Y amount of time, it would be far more economical to build a single larger tunnel than multiple small ones. It also makes a lot more sense to have a few large stations for loading/unloading passengers, rather than numerous small ones in the same areas.

I really hope Elon Musk would consider digging a parallel Interstate 95 or a parallel Interstate 270 along with extending Interstate 97 into Vriginia.

If he could build a sub bypass system of the existing Interstates things could get good traffic wise. In that they have not built any new major highways in over 50 years. While the area suffers from overpopulation.

Unless they don’t really “cost” 20 Billion.
How much of that is profit derived from a crappy gov’t system of awarding contracts to their hughest-bidder-buddy?

If you guys, who are pretty smart, want to really know what happens here, follow the TBM, aka Tunnel Boring Machine. They are not cheap, Elon (no not even the great Elon) is not going to build his own, and the difference between a project that works and one that does not is a good TBM.

I believe that a TBM is exactly what SpaceX is building with its subsidiary, The Boring Company. Specifically, my guess is they are tweaking an existing product, perhaps the one from Robbins, and will be eventually building their own. Their goal rate of digging is above 1120 meters per day (speed of snail is 0.029mph). a 20′ diameter machine from Robbins Company is doing about 40 meters per day. If SpaceX is looking at the tunneling industry the way that Tesla Energy is looking at glass roof tiles compared to slate/ceramic roofing, then I see the same formula at work. An old, established industry that has seen zero disruption in it is suddenly faced with a visionary backed up by a bunch of young, talented, and dedicated minds who are starting with a blank slate to solve an engineering problem. Fundamentally, I do believe that manufacturing processes and automation developed by the greater X.com mind share will come to fruition as speed increases beyond the status quo, at The Boring Company. Considering SpaceX is doing 2x-4x a month what Boeing hasn’t even tried to do, land a rocket safely, I think we all need to challenge the status quo in… Read more »

Next, will be a tweet about providing free wireless electricity for everyone. 😉

Wrong Tesla. 😉

Actually, the US government did that. There is a place in the mid south where government workers had to show up and break up ranchers/farmers wire fencing with insulators because they were getting electrified all on their own.

I will leave finding out why as an exercise to the reader.

Alright you greedy Republican, I google searched this for at least 5 minutes and struck out. I’ve gotta know, how did the ranchers’ fences become spontaneously electrified?

It was because of the wireless electricity…duh!

Yeah I’m curious also. Scotty, your claims are rather ambiguous that I’m not even sure what I should be searching for!

Greedy Republican?

In theory that might happen if the wires were too close to a large powerful radar scanner, but still it sounds like an urban myth to me.

I will settle for free internet…

Meanwhile in the real world, China will build out another 10,000 miles of 200 mile an hour electrified rail transit to add to its already existing 15,000 miles.

Be nice if US would start there upgrading existing 20,000 miles of 19th century rail lines to 21st century high speed electric.


yeah, can’t tell you how thrilled i am about the LA to SF train that no one will use. Trains are great that’s why i, and most others, fly for my long distance travel.

Walk over to the train station, get on 200 mph train and 1.75 hours later you’re in SF.

Go to airport an hour early. Get on plane. Plane taxis 20 minutes. Takes off. 1.20 flight time to SF. Plane lands, taxis 20 minutes you get off. 3 hours later you’re in SF…well at the airport…4 hours later you’re in SF.

Combining the tunnels and the loops both concepts start to make sense. Surface hyperloops that stretch as visual walls through the landscape will trigger nimby reflexes and the concept of dragging cars down into tunnels to reach inner cities never made much sense to me.

Long distance tunnels have to be horribly expensive though.

The question is, Is the cost of tunnels cheaper than buying high priced real estate. It costs $1M to buy a house around here, the cost of buying a swath of land from NY to DC would be mind-boggling.


One of the reasons that Hyperloop is a more practical idea than traffic tunnels including the Boring Co. concept, is that it proposes using a tubeway elevated on pylons, far enough above the ground that it can be built above existing buildings. While of course that won’t work everywhere, it seems more than a bit strange that here Elon seems to be abandoning that advantage in favor of digging a tunnel. Well, one of Elon’s ideas for The Boring Co. is reducing the cost of tunneling by an order of magnitude. If he can actually accomplish that — and I think that is a very, very big “if” — then maybe that would wind up being more affordable than an elevated tubeway. But I’m very skeptical of the idea. When it comes to digging a subway-type tunnel, it’s not just the cost of digging the tunnel itself that must be considered. There is also a major expense and major difficulties in monitoring buildings above the dig, and the cost of pumping a toothpaste-like material into the ground to reverse any subsidence when it happens. At any rate, I agree with Taser54: This verbal agreement is worth the paper it’s printed… Read more »

Don’t worry about monitoring effects on surface structures. The big problem with tunnel digging is quite the reverse: it’s completely undetectable. Ask the Israeli’s or the South Korean’s how problematic that can be.

Yes and heat expansion for a 1000 mile vacuum tube must be a nightmare to try to overcome. 20 meter underground it will be constant temperature all year around.

And have the same NIMBY issues with those whom the tunnels go under.

There will be whiners but since the whole process of digging the tunnel isn’t even detectable on the surface they may have a tough case in court.

@Staff: Would you please correct the headline! It should say “Hyperloop” and not “Boring Company”.

Elon’s tweet clearly says “Hyperloop”, and as others have already pointed out, a journey from D.C. to NYC would take far more than 29 minutes at the speed of the Boring Co. concept. That’s Hyperloop speed.

Deal is via The Boring Company, the specifics of the deal is in regard to the application of hyperloop platform.

Different things I grant you, but the approval (whatever that constitutes in reality) is through The Boring Company.

ie) It could have been Kraft foods gets the contract to build underground hyperloop

Yes, there is a reason it is called “the boring company” and not transportation something.


TBM technology is about 50 feet per day, with 100 feet per day being the “holy grail” of fast tunnel boring (ie., not there, hope to be there).

That means that it takes about 50-100 days to bore one mile.

Sooooooo, NY to DC: 228 miles = 11,400 days or 31 years to 22,800 days or 62 years.

So TBMs cost in the range of 45 Millon USD. So lets get the time down to 3 to 6 years, that’s 450 Millon to buy, and who knows what to lease (doubting you would find that many TBMs at the local equipment rental shop).

Thems big numbers. And thats just to get started. Not crews, transportation of the TBMs, permits, planning, actually finishing the tunnels, etc, etc.

Who cares about the numbers. Really. How many Tesla fanboys and “investors” have any clue about numbers? Elon will show grand computer graphics vision, and everybody will be happy dreaming for many years, until next grand project. OK, it will need many billions of course, why would you do it otherwise. 1. Trump claimed he wanted to fund infrastructure, and it isn’t against GOP agenda, at least in theory. 2. Look how NY state funded Buffalo factory. Free factory, almost a billion of taxpayer money – just take it for free if you have grand vision. I don’t know about something more material for the state, do you? The deal had some minor strings attached, but so what – if SolarCity/Tesla were not able to meet these minor obligations, obligations were just removed. For free of course. Now that is the entrepreneurship. I heard somebody in NY state got indicted and may need orange suit, but who cares, the deal is done. Politicians never like to dig up corruption in their own party. The same can be done for this hyper subway project and he will have enough billions. He just needs to create hyper fascinating super hype, and he… Read more »

And you zzzz, all you think you need to do is create massive amounts of negative FUD.

Let me tell you something as a recently retired 30 year Army combat veteran, to the bold go the spoils.

If you never try, you never succeed.

Anyways, go back to fossil fuel worshipping.

“How many Tesla fanboys and “investors” have any clue about numbers?”
They been making money hand over fist in TSLA stock while you with your algebra book come here singing sad tunes. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

zzzzzzzzzz continued his Tesla-hater whining:

“Who cares about the numbers. Really. How many Tesla fanboys and ‘investors’ have any clue about numbers?”

One definition of hypocrisy: A science-denier “fool cell” fanboy like zzzzzzzzzzz complaining about people ignoring real-world numbers and data.

Mr. Fool Cell Fanboy, we can see this concept is wildly unlikely to become reality. Nonetheless, it is at least physically possible — which is more than you can realistically claim for the idea that the “hydrogen economy” will ever become reality.

It’s not us who have a problem distinguishing between reality and wishful thinking. It’s you, dude.

And they got lots of granite out there, iirc…..

Yep, Elon indicated TBMs are way below their potential today. Order of magnitude improvements are possible.

In that case, the numbers all start to look better.

So Elon creates a new TBM that works at 1/10 the cost, ten times the speed, etc.

The problem with that, even if true, is Elon has too many of these projects going on. Crazy mad geniuses tend to crash and burn this way.


Do you have any other examples? I don’t know that many polymaths. 😀

Exactly what happened to the original Tesla- Nikola!

Soooo, just to pound this into the ground, the current number appears to be $19,000 per foot to TBM, see “The High-Tech, Low-Cost World of Tunnel Building” in the WSJ:


So thats only $22 billon to dig the route from DC to NY.

Pocket change!

Less than 5 percent of the annual military budget.

“$22B. Pocket change.”

Ford class aircraft carrier $36B. It produces nothing and costs a lot to operate.

$22B for DC to NY Hyperloop which produces a lot for US economy.

Heck, lets go for the full $36B and run it to Boston.

We have 8 Nimitz and Ford class behemoths, relics from WWII, lets get rid of four of them and build hyper loops down East and West coasts and put the money to work.

The Boring Company says their stated goal is above 1120 meters per day (again, speed of snail is .029 mph). Those 228 miles work out to 328 days, which is less than a year. I have a feeling that this is faster than the various city hall’s involved can act. What is most likely compelling about The Boring Company’s proposal is a combination of rate and cost per unit of distance. In the business world, their success will be measured by their contracts.

So 3674.541 feet per day, or 36 times faster that what is the current state of the art at it’s fastest.

So after that Elon takes a break, solves global warming, solves world hunger and then flies back to planet Krypton?

Meanwhile- he finds time to colonise Mars…

Scott — Why would they start with a single boring machine at one end, and let it do all the work until it hit the other end years later?

Heck, if they just go back a few decades in technology and tunnel in both directions that cuts the time in half. Like they did for the Channel tunnel way back in the 1980’s with “Men at Work” blaring on the radio.

Bore in sections with even more machines and it keeps cutting down time with each added boring machine.

You display a substantial lack of imagination and the kind of mindset that would have us all still riding horses because how in the world could we ever get enough whale oil for everybody to drive around their own car? Using telegraphs because how can we hire enough telephone switchboard operators for everybody to own their own phones? (Both real conundrums used to argue against new technologies that were solved by smart people ignoring current limitations and inventing solutions to get past existing limitations.)

A. because 62 years, if you actually read what I wrote.

B. The rest of your letter was insulting, and I didn’t bother reading it.

Scotty, just a crazy idea…but couldn’t one start digging from both ends and cut the time in half? Add more machines and reduce the time if that’s the main concern.
I will not discuss practicality of an imaginary project…some other time.

scott — apparently you failed to read all the other posters who corrected your false assumptions too, debunking your 62year claim.

Clearly facts insult you too.

“Must go faster.” — Ian Malcolm, “Jurassic Park”

This kind of desperation play doesn’t exactly improve the reputation of the project in the eyes of the three dozen or another officials that were not consulted, yet must also agree. It looks like amateur hour. And we haven’t yet discussed the multiple public referendums that would need to be held to fund it. A Kickstarter project is about as credible.

And yet, still more credible than any or all of the serial Tesla-bashing FUD posts you litter this forum with.

Amateur hour would be the Trumpster and his corrupt and incompetent family and hangers on.

Elon and his companies on the other hand have a track record of impressive engineering feats.

Anyways, go back to your Tesla-shorting by all means.

Next question…
Assuming he gets all the tees crossed and eyes dotted, where will they be putting all the spoils?

They could probably build a small islands off the coast of the Delmarva peninsula.

Remember that a hyperloop tunnel is much much smaller than a road or train tunnel so it would be much faster and cheaper to dig. Also there is no reason to dig a tunnel in rural areas, so most of the tube (90%) could be above ground.

Was this verbal approval from our chief executive? If so, just wait a few days, it will be like it never happened.

Just bore deep enough under I95. Don’t need much more in the way of right of ways.

Poppycock. Balderdash. Even the Federal government itself is spending 20+ years to increase the Acela’s speed by about 50mph. There is organized opposition throughout the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to high-speed transit. Here’s but one example: http://secoast.org Also, the NEC path between Maine and Virginia is estuarial, alluvial mud. That’s one reason the Big Dig in Boston cost tens of millions, and it took a generation to build. A proposed “inland route” for the NEC has been debated for decades, and has met vicious opposition. So good luck with that, Tesla. Ask Chris Christie what it costs to cross under the Hudson River with a new tunnel. Tens of billions, maybe hundreds of billions. Wanna know what a bridge costs? Check the price of the new Tappan Zee. I have grown to the point where I just cannot believe any of this. It’s too ludicrous for my little brain to absorb. Frankly, I’m starting to think the Boring Company is just a big disinformation campaign for saltwater desalinization at municipal scale in Cali. What would I do with infinite, low-cost solar power in the desert southwest, and a TBM company at the Pacific Ocean? I’d turn SoCal into Israel. I’d desal… Read more »

Around the time the Titanic sunk, the Church of England started a campaign calling for a decade-long halt on all new inventions. They said it was because their people were having such a hard time catching up with all the new changes in the world.

The Church of England argued that there were so many new inventions that people needed a decade to catch up with everything that had already been recently invented.

So folks with a mind-set like yours are not new. Denial, even active hostility towards advances in technology is as old as time. Adam was furious that Eve took a bite of the apple and opened up the world to man.

It’s OK, opposition to change is natural. Everything will be alright.

Let me get this straight, Nix. Here’s me asserting that the Boring Company is actually an edifice, a distraction based on a video game animation – and that its real purpose might be something truly grand, like transforming freshwater distribution for 100m people… and you think I’m the one with the tiny brain, and no vision? Okay. Good. Carry on. Just making sure we had that right.

Finally, leading the world with a super fast train vs Amtrak! So tired of China and Europe with their high speed trains and we just have slow trains and planes. USA hopefully leading the world again!