Could South Florida drivers slip under the usual traffic jams by using a tunnel? Perhaps, if ultrawealthy entrepreneur Elon Musk gets his way.
Musk has accomplished much in his career, overcoming impossible obstacles in his rise to become the world’s most famous business magnate. From revolutionizing the car industry to sending the first manned commercial flight to space, there’s few industries in which the tycoon doesn’t have his Midas-like hand.
With Musk continuing to push limits and inject technology into every corner of industry, it’s natural to ponder what the radical entrepreneur will pull off next. Could he develop the cure for cancer? Send the first-person to Mars? Create sentient robots? While these avenues aren’t out of the realm of possibility for Musk in the near future, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO appears to be looking underground for his next venture.
Miami may be known for its beaches, celebrities, and fast lifestyle, but the city is plagued by some of the worst traffic congestion in the United States. According to a study conducted last year by Florida International University, the South Florida city has the 12th worst traffic congestion in the country. The traffic is so bad, in fact, that nearly 80 percent of residents who rely on cars for transportation spend over 100 hours a year in gridlock.
The lost time may seem inconsequential at first. But in reality, the wasted time has cost drivers and residents of the city billions of dollars in productivity, according to the study. Then there are the negative impacts that gasoline-powered cars have on the environment.
While Florida lawmakers continue to search for solutions, Musk believes he has a fix for the issue.
In a Twitter exchange with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Musk floated the idea of playing problem-solver for South Florida’s traffic woes by using The Boring Company, an American infrastructure and construction services company founded by Musk in 2016, to build a tunnel underground. He’s even discussed the plan with Governor Ron DeSantis…
Cars & trucks stuck in traffic generate megatons of toxic gases & particulate, but @boringcompany road tunnels under Miami would solve traffic & be an example to the world.
Spoke with @RonDeSantisFL about tunnels last week. If Governor & Mayor want this done, we will do it.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 18, 2021
While a project of this scope seems hard to imagine, it can be accomplished, according to the Miami New Times. When learning of Musk’s ambitious dream, the local news outlet reached out to University of Miami civil engineering professor Jean-Pierre Bardet to determine if Musk could pull off such a feat. And according to the former dean of UM’s College of Engineering, Musk’s plan is possible — albeit it, with a hefty cost.
“It has been done before and, in a nutshell, it is possible,” he says. “But you have a lot of investigation to do and questions to answer before coming up with a price tag,” Bardet told the New Times.
Such a task would undoubtedly be a massive undertaking for anyone — not to mention cost and arm and a leg — Musk, however, is not just anyone. The centibillionaire has made advancements in almost every major industry in the U.S. — including healthcare (Neuralink), technology (SpaceX & Tesla), construction (The Boring Company), and retail (PayPal) — and continues to push the limits on innovation and what’s possible in the 21st century. Not to mention, Musk has slowly become a champion for businesses, opposing massive lockdowns and even defying orders in California to keep his Tesla assembly plant online.
Musk puts his money where his mouth is on controversial issues, donating to Dave Portnoy’s Barstool Fund earlier this month, which aims to help small businesses survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — something that legacy media outlets have decided not to cover.
Musk’s view of the pandemic, though common for most people who own a business, most importantly falls in-line with DeSantis’ open-for-business approach to Florida’s economy. Both have been outspoken on their disdain for further restrictions on businesses and consumers, making them a match made in heaven — as evident by the secretive discussion that Musk alluded to.
Whether or not the like-minded leaders will form a partnership to improve South Florida’s traffic infrastructure is still pending, but the possibility exists. The move could put a feather in DeSantis’ political cap, and give Musk another award to add to his tech titan trophy case.