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Elon Musk's second LA tunnel faces criticism from local government

It wants mass transit pods, but officials have reasons to object.
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Mark Brake/Getty Images

Elon Musk's Boring Company hasn't finished digging its first LA-area tunnel, but it's already talking about a second... and it's facing some resistance. The startup has pitched Culver City's council on a 6.5-mile "proof of process" tunnel between the town and LA that would gauge its ability to build across jurisdictions, which is rather vital when you're planning large-scale transportation systems. This wouldn't be as focused on individual cars, however -- rather, the emphasis would be on mass transit that it has previously hinted at in vague terms.

The Boring Company devoted its attention to the Loop, a system of small multi-passenger pods (8 to 16 people each) that would shuttle you across the city. This wouldn't be a direct subway equivalent. While it would have numerous stations, a pod would carry everyone aboard to one station instead of pausing at every station along the way. The autonomous electric skates carrying these pods would be faster than conventional public transportation, the company argues, and would have "comparable, if not lower" fares than existing options. They'd serve as supplements to LA County's MTA and wouldn't require public funds.

It sounds good at first glance, but there's a significant amount of pushback. There are concerns that this would compete against and undermine public options, and that a private system wouldn't be held to the same standards. Public transportation is held to certain standards for affordability and coverage that the Boring Company wouldn't have to fulfill. The city council might not greenlight Musk's vision until it has promises that its tunnel pods would be affordable and easy to use.

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