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Elon Musk and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hold ‘Loop’ press conference to shut down the haters

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Bye haters - Elon Musk and Rahm Emanuel are a match made in transportation heaven.
Bye haters – Elon Musk and Rahm Emanuel are a match made in transportation heaven.

Image: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Haters gonna hate, but that’s not stopping Elon Musk and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel from pushing forward on a potentially game-changing new high-speed rail project.

Musk and Mayor Emanuel held a press conference on Thursday to announce The Boring Company’s winning bid for an underground high-speed rail between downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airport.

“This is the fastlane to Chicago’s future,” Mayor Emanuel said.

The line will be called “The Chicago Express Loop,” also known as The X. Pods made by Tesla will travel between 125 – 150 mph, transporting travelers the approximately 16 miles between Block 37 in downtown Chicago to the airport in about 12 minutes. It’s not Hyperloop, but it’s fast — about four times faster than existing public transportation, at least.

The city and the Boring Company actually announced the partnership early Thursday morning. The role of the press conference, it seemed, was to communicate — and sell — Mayor Emanuel and Elon Musk’s dual vision for the future.

“If you want to have for your city a 21st century economy, you must have a 21st century transportation foundation,” Mayor Emanuel said. 

“We think that with the loop system, which will ultimately transition to the hyperloop system, there’s the potential here for a revolutionary transport system,” Musk said.

The press conference largely centered around how the project will impact Chicago. But Musk and Mayor Emanuel also took pains to address the “doubters” in the room. They both put forth the sentiment that revolutionary projects — which is the way that they see the Loop — always prompt naysayers. But that history tends to prove them wrong.

“It’s easy to be a critic or a cynic,” Mayor Emanuel said. “There are doubters along the way all the time who sit on the sidelines. And then when the thing gets built, and the economic growth comes, they’re nowhere to be found.”

Musk, who has had an embattled relationship with his critics in the press as of late, said “There is a role for doubters. People should question things.”

But he aimed to reassure those “doubters” with his track record of successful innovations with SpaceX and Tesla (which Mayor Emanuel also touted as he expressed his faith in Musk and the project).

“I’ve done a few things in my past that were pretty tricky,” Musk said.

That’s one thing you can say for Elon Musk: he’s definitely not afraid of a challenge.

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