Musk won’t dig a tunnel in Palo Alto

Elon Musk on Dec. 18 unveiled a 1-mile tunnel in Hawthorne, dug by his latest enterprise, the Boring Co. AP photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Elon Musk, who once lived in Palo Alto and put his electric car company’s headquarters here, isn’t interested in digging a tunnel for trains in the city.

That’s according to Councilman Greg Scharff, who along with councilman Adrian Fine, reached out to Musk’s Boring Company in May to see if they would be interested in boring a 4-mile-long tunnel underneath the city for Caltrain.

Residents have long been pining for a tunnel, but the roadblock has been the cost — an estimated $4 billion. Musk, who unveiled a prototype 1-mile long tunnel in Hawthorne on Tuesday night, has said he can dig tunnels for a fraction of the current cost.

The city is interested in a tunnel in order to separate the tracks from the streets at Charleston Road, Meadow Drive, Palo Alto Avenue and Churchill Avenue.

When Scharff inquired with the Boring Company if they would be interested in building Palo Alto’s tunnel, he was told that right now the company is focused on making tunnels for their “pod cars.”
Some of those pod cars were on display in Hawthorne on Tuesday when he unveiled his 1-mile-long tunnel. However, a Tesla was put in the tunnel during the demonstration.
He said his tunnels would be an “underground highway rather than a subway.”

Scharff said he also invited the Boring Company to talk to council or the Association of Bay Area Governments or ABAG. He’s vice president of ABAG.

However, at the time, he was told that the company was focusing on Southern California, and once it had completed a “good demo project,” as Scharff put it, they would be more interested in working with northern California cities.


  1. If these councilmen had a clue they would know that Musk is focusing on small diameter tunnels that can be made quick and cheap. A train tunnel is an order of magnitude larger.

  2. Not to mention the issues of creeks and roads that are already underground and need bypasses or going under doesn’t go away, nor do the costs and headaches. Musk is innovative but not a miracle worker, and even if he shaved a billion off the cost there’s still no funding. As well, the grades necessary for railroads are still there, as well as connections to neighboring town’s ‘solutions’ that have to be paired with. God my old hometown is insufferable in this matter.

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