The Boring Company Tunnel In LA Faces Local Lawsuits


It appears as though local opinions surrounding Elon Musk’s tunnel-digging project in Los Angeles are about to get a little less boring.

Two organizations filed a lawsuit against The Boring Company related to its 2.7-mile “Phase 1” tunnel in Los Angeles. Apparently, these neighborhood groups assert that the initial approval process neglected to follow appropriate protocol, and in turn, broke California state laws.

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The Sunset Coalition and Brentwood Residents Coalition brought to light some key information about the way the City Council Public Works Committee handled approval for digging prior to the project’s beginning. In the state of California, you can’t get a large project approved in multiple smaller “chunks” so as to negate certain environmental reviews. According to the Los Angeles Times:

The state’s environmental law cannot be evaded by chopping large projects into smaller pieces that taken individually appear to have no significant environmental impacts.

Being that the initial dig is just a proof-of-concept, it was approved rather quickly by the council. However, the plan is that it will eventually be a part of a much larger system of tunnels. The expedited granting of approval to this portion not only sped up the process for The Boring Company, but also seemed to allow for specific mandatory reviews to be passed over, at least for now. According to the coalitions, the tunnel venture should have been reviewed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Below is The Boring Company’s publicized map of its intentions in the Los Angeles area:

The Boring Company continues to reiterate that this tunnel is for testing purposes. We’re not quite sure how the law comes into play if you take what was approved as a testing site and transition it later to become part of the entire project.

Obviously, the company is not going to fill that portion in and start over. Most likely, the testing tunnel will simply need to be reviewed again in the future under a different set of plans. In fact, the company’s website points out that it would not be used for traffic until full regulatory approval is carried out:

The tunnel would be used for construction logistics verification, system testing, safety testing, operating procedure verification, and line-switching demonstrations. Phase 1 would not be utilized for public transportation until the proof-of-process tunnel is deemed successful by County government, City government, and TBC.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently Tweeted that there will be a town hall meeting this evening to discuss the company’s plans for LA.

Nitpicky or valid? What do you think?

Keep the conversation going on our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Source: Teslarati, The Boring Company

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47 Comments on "The Boring Company Tunnel In LA Faces Local Lawsuits"

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Don’t ask me about the law. I’m just curious how those 90 degree intersections work technically.

Traffic lights?

Lights down in the tunnel? I assumed it would all be automated & computer controlled. But how will the pod physically make a 90 degree turn? Will there be a turntable to transfer from one set of rails to the other? Or would the pod be lifted and rotated, then placed on the new rails? How will this work with traffic control?

Those turns could be gradual over a hundred feet, and still look like 90 degrees on a map of that scale.

True. Or maybe there will be arcs, but just aren’t shown. It will be interesting how the traffic is handled.

Graboids will be trained to pick up the pods and carefully set them on the other set of rails.


and this is way we cant build sh*t fast enough here. China would have build hyperloop in 6months

largely this is a California disease. They’ve contorted the concept of an EIS into something completely foreign.

Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone

We are not much better here in Washington state, well the West side of Washington state.

How did they build all the subways in L.A. ?

Basically anything that succeeds in being built, went through a bureaucratic nightmare to get approved, many delays, cost overruns, etc, etc.

It is good to have regulations, but things have gotten to the point, it’s hampering a lot of good economic projects from succeeding.

Successful defense against similar lawsuits.

Nope it’s a US thing. Look at at California High Speed Rail, It was voted in 2008 by that time China have already built 5 lines

Yes and China will also move 2 million people out of their homes on a whim… It will also execute a Prisoner after sentencing within the hour…

It is double edge sword. I am glad that I don’t live in China.

So be it, we have eminent domain. They get face value for their property

So what are the endangered species 100 ft below ground level?

I’d be more concerned about possible seismic implications in LA, though maybe that’s silly.

According to Elon its the safest place to be.

What? Can’t remove one’s own comment?
Don’t get notified of replies to them, either?
Anyway, yes, what DEE said Elon said is correct.
Also that boring activity is essentially undetectable even with the most sensitive seismographs from as few as 30′ away (perpendicular to the tunnel).

It’s a major civil work, access points will be on the surface, there will be a lot of diesel-belching equipment, trucks, cement mixers, etc. An environmental review checks things like noise an pollution impact to neighborhoods, might require mitigation steps, changes in access point locations, etc.

They removing dirt from their own access point

TBC planned to haul the dirt to a landfill a couple dozen miles east. Unless they’ve built a whole lot of Semis, that’s going to require diesel trucks.

It is amazing this is getting built when the 4.9 mile 710 tunnel connection in Los Angeles has not happened since 2015. Guess it just depends where you are going to dig.

Here come the NIMBY Luddites!

They built 6 major lines over the years.

Yelp in 30 year period while Shanghai builds their 15 lines in 15 years

Move to China, everyone!

Welcome to SoCal…

People with–
too much time
too much money
too many lawyers

Get some popcorn, this will take awhile.

Yup. And my favorite: “I’m worried it will change the current nature of the neighborhood”. Translated as “I don’t have any valid complaints”.

But it raises the question: Will the tunnels go under private homes?

Changing the current nature of a neighborhood is indeed a valid complaint under CEQA. People have a right to know how a project will change their life and have a right to complain about that – that is the very nature of CEQA. Get used to it (and be glad the California Coastal Commission is not involved).

” (and be glad the California Coastal Commission is not involved)” – SSSHhh!
Now you’ve done it. They’re gonna feel left out and find a way to file their own lawsuit! 😉

Fast and loose

I’m sure you have some qualities too…

As opposed to the people in this forum who recently believed Elon should be allowed to start digging tunnels willy-nilly between his Fremont manufacturing locations with no regard to municipal planning of any kind.

Anybody who didn’t see this coming was blinded by their rose-tinted glasses. There is no doubt Elon has been getting away with things. For example, Hawthorne allowed him to move thousands of yards of soil with no plans, no permits, no oversight of any kind. Anybody in California construction can tell you that that just doesn’t happen, generally moving more than a hundred cubic yards will start triggering soils and engineering reports, submission of plans and trucking routes, acquiring permits and inspections. Working underground? Even more so, say hello to CAL OSHA.

CEQA has been around for decades, if the rest of California must adhere to it, so should Elon and the City Los Angeles. If this makes people uncomfortable – change the laws, but that is the state of the possibly highest regulated state in the country.

As well as the most prosperous state, and that’s not a coincidence.

This idea that regulation is “bad for the economy” is just plain wrong. Regulators and regulations play a key role in making the system work well for everyone, or at least a large majority. Rather than wish for less regulation we really should wish for better regulations and more competent oversight. There’s lots of room for improvement.

Food for thought:

There goes the cost overruns. Look at the East Side Access in New York. Suppose to be completed by 2009 nope it’s now 2018 and been push to 2022

“As well as the most prosperous state, and that’s not a coincidence.”

Not even close. 9th in median household income and 16th in per capita income, for example. And a whole host of related economic issues that they keep sweeping under the rug…

Yes, this is why I’m quite skeptical of the claims to have lowered costs in tunneling. Building smaller tunnels and skipping environmental reviews isn’t revolutionary, it’s just not practical for other projects, especially those financed by the public. LA Metro would LOVE to be able to skip the literal decades of planning and environmental reviews that go into their projects and end up escalating costs, but they can’t for a multitude of reasons.

Personally I am glad that I don’t live nearby, what can go wrong with San Andrea is just nearby…

So this is a problem but the current subway system is fine?

His mind is made up that subway tunnels will all collapse in an earthquake; don’t confuse him with the facts!

“The state’s environmental law cannot be evaded by chopping large projects into smaller pieces that taken individually appear to have no significant environmental impacts.” AAAARGGGHHH!!! What exactly would that “enviromental impacts” be? NEGATIVE? POSITIVE? Every mode of transportation has negative AND positive impact on the enviroment and the humans and animals living therin. Just make a Table and compare… And the NET EFFECT will be what? First time angry… OK. I saw it coming, but… but… hey…. The enviromental impact of electrified transport is nothing compared to the enviromental impact of highways full of cars… or city streets in complete congestion… haaaargt!!! REALLY! What exactly do they imagine as enviroment??? It’s a f**!n6 city we are talking about. The most important “enviromental” impact will be less noise in the long run. And more space for HUMAN beeings and their animal friends. Less space for cars. Really I don’t get it… The negative impacts of ground level or highway traffic for a city are well known… It’s hard to imagine how tunnels could have a bigger NEGATIVE impact than the established modes of transportation (excluding walking and cycling…) Imagine KIDS playing on the streets… Maybe even using a bycicle… in the… Read more »

OK my rant looks ugly. I admit it. But except from all the shouting, I at least used carriage return… hmm… that got lost… Sorry.

No one said that it would be a negative impact per se, but Elon apparently thinks he can just skip the environmental phase entirely because this is “a test”. It doesn’t work that way, especially when it’s a thinly-veiled attempt to form part of a larger project that would absolutely be subject to a full review.

That pod reminds me of the 80’s show Automan, or maybe Tron.

“I’ll show you law… *Western* law!”…


NIMBY lawsuits are probably the main reason why it has become so difficult to Think Big in modern America.

Not that I believe Elon’s “Boring Company” is anything more than a super-rich man’s fantasy-cum-hobby, but it should be allowed to develop until it collapses under its own weight, not stopped by NIMBY obstructionism!