Elon Musk Has Quoted $1 Billion For A Blue Mountains Tunnel

Elon Musk Has Quoted $1 Billion For A Blue Mountains Tunnel
Image via <a href='https://twitter.com/greensjeremy/status/1085491806349848576'>@greensjeremy</a>

Elon Musk has said it will cost around $1 billion to build a Blue Mountains tunnel from Penrith to Lithgow, after Independent MP Jeremy Buckingham proposed the project via tweet.

Buckingham, most popularly known for alleged sexual harassment and puking on a fish, tweeted at Musk yesterday afternoon, inquiring as to whether the billionaire’s Boring Company would be able to help reduce Sydney’s traffic congestion.

“I’m a lawmaker in Sydney, which is choking with traffic,” said Buckingham. “How much to build a 50km tunnel through the Blue Mountains and open up the west of our State?”

Musk gets tagged and mentioned in countless social media posts every day, so a tweeted business proposal is very likely to get lost in the deluge. Fortunately for Buckingham, Musk saw the tweet and responded last night.

“About $15M/km for a two way high speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station,” wrote Musk. He doesn’t specify whether those figures are in Australian or American dollars, though they’re likely to be the latter. This puts the project at around $AU1 billion, plus $AU80 million per station.

Calling it a bargain, Buckingham thanked Musk and said he will bring the proposal to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, other MPs and the community. “Could be a game changer to go under the Blue Mountains with a modern link between Sydney and the West.”

Preliminary online response to Buckingham’s proposal has been largely derisive. While some are eager to see it done, many more appear to view the tunnel as unrealistic or potentially damaging, and a distraction from issues such as the reliability of the current rail network.


Via ABC News, Buckingham stated that commuters would enter the Blue Mountains tunnel via an elevator, and that it would operate in a manner similar to LA’s under-development Dugout Loop project. The Dugout Loop is being designed to transport eight to 16 passengers on autonomous electric skates at 200 to 240km/h, at a cost of $US1 per trip.

Though Boring Company currently has a few tunnelling projects underway, all of them are in the US and only one test tunnel has been completed. If Buckingham’s proposed Blue Mountain tunnel goes ahead, it would be the first tunnel the company has dug internationally.

When asked by a Twitter user why he felt Musk was the best candidate to build the tunnel, Buckingham replied, “Because Mars, cars, batteries etc.”

This isn’t the first time Musk has swooped in from Twitter to tackle an Australian problem. Back in 2017, Musk claimed Tesla could help solve South Australia’s energy stability issues by installing a giant ion lithium battery in the state. He further announced that if he failed to meet his self-imposed deadline of 100 days, the battery would be free.

Musk achieved this goal, and the battery is considered a success. But giant batteries and public transportation are two very different things.

Of course it is still very early days, and the Blue Mountains tunnel is currently only talk. Time will tell if it will amount to anything.