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Elon Musk’s Ontario airport tunnel project moves to next phase – East Bay Times

Elon Musk and San Bernardino County’s transportation agency began exclusive negotiations this week on construction of an underground people-mover from the Metrolink train station in Rancho Cucamonga to Ontario International Airport.

In a unanimous vote Wednesday, Feb. 3, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority board directed staff to work out the details with Musk’s tunneling venture, The Boring Co., based in Hawthorne.

If the two sides reach agreement, a contract would come before the board for approval, possibly in September. Operation could begin in late 2023 or early 2024.

“I think this is definitely going to happen,” Curt Hagman, county supervisor and vice president of the SBCTA board, said Thursday. “I’ve seen the technology and I believe in it. I think it is the beginning of the future of three-dimensional travel at an affordable rate.”

A map of Elon Musk’s The Boring Company’s proposed Ontario Airport Loop underground people-mover project shows the route of the tunnel from Rancho Cucamonga to Ontario International Airport. (Courtesy of SBCTA) 

The Ontario Airport Loop project would involve digging a tunnel under Milliken Avenue and then west along Airport Drive. Riders would get in Tesla Model 3s or a specially designed 12-passenger Tesla tram and travel up to 127 mph on a track for the short, 4-mile trip. The vehicles are electric and produce zero emissions.

Three above-ground stations would be built: one near the existing Metrolink commuter rail station and two at the airport — at Terminal 2 and Terminal 4. A one-way ride would take about five minutes, according to the SBCTA.

The Loop would carry about 1,200 people per day.

The cost for the project during early discussions in 2019 started at $45 million but the proposal submitted to SBCTA by The Boring Co. in December placed the cost of construction at $85 million, according to the SBCTA.

It would become the first rail-like connection at Ontario airport and would lessen congestion from single-passenger cars using the 10 Freeway, said Alan Wapner, Ontario City Councilman and president of the airport joint-powers authority. The airport’s current mass transit options are ride-hauling services and Omnitrans bus service.

Metrolink sees this as an opportunity for passengers to jump on the underground loop and quickly connect with its main east-west line, which it hopes to expand.

“The Ontario Airport Loop creates tremendous opportunities to create convenient access between ONT and Los Angeles County, eastern San Bernardino County and, really, the region as a whole,” said Stephanie Wiggins, Metrolink’s CEO, in a prepared statement.

The Loop would cost considerably less than the stalled $1- to $1.5-billion light-rail extension of the Gold Line (now known as the L Line) from Pomona to the airport, and could be built in two or three years rather than the 10…

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