Elon Musk’s Big Idea: Underground Transit Tunnel to Escape Hurricanes in New Orleans | Economic news

Elon Musk takes part in a long-running discussion – how to best evacuate New Orleans when a hurricane is looming.

He took to Twitter – a social media platform he buys – over the weekend and suggested tunnels as a way to improve traffic conditions around the world.

Baton Rouge-based reporter Johnna Crider responded by saying that a “tunnel/transportation loop from Baton Rouge to New Orleans would be awesome.”

The idea of ​​an above-ground passenger train linking the two cities has been touted for years, but has yet to come to fruition in any meaningful way. There are about 80 miles between the two cities on highways and bridges known for traffic jams.


Musk’s idea: A hyperloop. It would be an “ultra-high-speed” underground passenger transport option that he said would transport passengers in self-contained electric pods at more than 600 miles per hour via low-pressure tubes. Here is some conceptual designs for the pods.

The billionaire first proposed the idea in 2013, but his company has yet to build a working model, according to Fortune.

Musk said Sunday that his company, Boring Co., will attempt to build a functional hyperloop “in the years to come.” The company said on Monday that it plans to “large-scale testing” to begin later this year.

Here’s more from Musk on his hyperloop idea.

“Unaffected by surface weather conditions”

Crider responded to Musk’s tweet, saying a hyperloop would be useful in Louisiana, especially during hurricane evacuations.

“Underground tunnels are sheltered from surface weather (subways being a good example), so it wouldn’t matter to Hyperloop if a hurricane raged on the surface,” the billionaire replied. technology on Twitter. “You wouldn’t even notice.”

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He didn’t specifically offer to build the project in Louisiana, but the comment was enough to get social media talking about the possibility — and the potential issues, namely flooding.

In New York, subway stations closed last year when rain from Hurricane Ida flooded the system.

Another person replied with images of above ground cemeteries in Louisiana.

“Who is going to tell him why it exists? they tweeted.

richest person in the world

Musk is the richest person in the world, according to Forbes, with a fortune of nearly $279 billion. But much of his money is tied up in shares of Tesla — he owns about 17% of the electric car company, according to FactSet, which is valued at more than $1 trillion — and SpaceX, his private space company. It’s unclear how much money Musk has.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the opening of the Tesla Berlin Brandenburg factory in Gruenheide, Germany, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Elon Musk is taking a 9.2% stake in Twitter. Musk bought about 73.5 million shares, according to a regulatory filing. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File)

Musk made his fortune in 1999 when he sold Zip2, an online mapping and business directory, to Compaq for $307 million. He used his share to create what would become PayPal, an internet service that bypassed banks and allowed consumers to pay businesses directly. It was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.

That same year, Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, after finding that cost constraints were limiting NASA’s interplanetary travel. The company eventually developed cost-effective reusable rockets.

In 2004, Musk was courted to invest in Tesla, then a startup trying to build an electric car. Eventually, he became CEO and led the company to astronomical success as the world’s most valuable automaker and biggest seller of electric vehicles.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Carlie Kollath Wells is a breaking news reporter at NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune.