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'Unique Opportunity To Create Signature Project': Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Talks To Elon Musk About Tunnel Transit

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and the world's richest man, Elon Musk, had a conversation on Friday which included talk over building a tunnel for electric vehicles under the Miami River.

Following the call with the Tesla and SpaceX founder, Mayor Suarez called the conversation "wonderful" in a video released statement.

Musk has previously said he wants to dig tunnels with the Boring Company, one of his many business ventures, to help alleviate Miami's notoriously congested traffic.

"He's focused on trying to deliver a project that will have the maximum utility for residents for the least amount of money," said Mayor Suarez. "We talked a lot about the Brickell tunnel project, which was priced out at a billion dollars, and he feels can be done much closer to $30 million."

The Brickell tunnel project entails building a tunnel for electric vehicles that would connect Brickell Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard.

"So obviously, without being able to sort of rely on that particular price point, that is what he believes is something like that can be done for and it can be done in about six months," said Suarez.

Suarez said he is going to discuss the issue with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

"I think we have a unique opportunity to create a signature project not just for Miami, but for the world that will bring people from across the world to see this solution and will allow it to scale to more transit transportation solutions throughout the city and more throughout the world," Suarez said in the video.

Musk tweeted that he spoke with Gov. Ron DeSantis about the idea in January.

"If Governor & Mayor want this done, we will do it," Musk tweeted.

Ft. Lauderdale's mayor has also already met with Musk's Boring Company executives about a potential tunneling project underneath the New River.


Civil engineers say it's tough to build tunnels in South Florida, which is largely on a foundation of limestone, which is sponge-like, allowing water to move through it easily.

However, large diameter tunnels are possible in Miami if proper planning and precautionary measures are taken, said Conrad Felice, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Florida.

Felice noted that engineers earlier this decade completed the 4,200-foot Port Miami Tunnel, which had a price tag of $668.5 million and took over five years to complete.  That tunnel runs 120 feet below the surface.

Elon Musk Unveils Boring Co. Los Angeles Test Tunnel
A modified Tesla Inc. Model X drives into the tunnel entrance at an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. Elon Musk took the wraps off his Boring Co.'s first completed test tunnel on Tuesday, with a lot of razzle-dazzle, the admission he had spent $40 million of his own money on the project and a surprise twist in the underlying technology. Photographer: Robyn Beck/Pool via Bloomberg via Bloomberg

The Boring Company burrows utility and freight tunnels under cities to alleviate congestive traffic and shave down transportation times.

So far, the only completed tunnel is the company's 1.14 mile, $10 million test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, just outside SpaceX headquarters.  However, Musk and his Boring Company are currently building tunnels in Las Vegas and Southern California.

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