Last night, the Boring Company's chief of operations Jehn Balajadia went in front of the LA County Culver City city council and explained exactly why Elon Musk needed to dig underneath the homes of residents.
The packed meeting took 45 minutes, during which Balajadia answered the public's questions on tunneling procedures and at times mixed reactions regarding those answers. Balajadia largely focused on the Boring Company's "Loop," those small pods meant to replace traditional public transport, rather than the individual car units on sleds. She assured the attendees that the Boring Company would not ask for any taxpayer funding.
Not everyone was impressed. City Council member Meghan Sahli-Wells voiced concerns that a private company still has to make a bottom line and a profit.
"I don’t really trust a private company to watch out for equity because I haven’t seen it happen," she said. "It looks super sexy and super easy but it’s half-baked from a public perspective."
Some of Culver City's council had already seen part of what makes the Boring Company so interesting when they toured the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California earlier this month. The headquarters currently house the test tunnel that would be used for the high-speed underground system.
Culver City Councilman Jim B. Clarke said that while there are still a lot of uncertainties, the idea of the Boring Company still intrigued him.
“When we were there about a month ago, there were still a lot of unanswered questions, and that may still be the case,” Clarke said in an interview with The Argonaut. “This is informational. They still have to go through the [public approvals] process, and that would take months.”
However, Clark noted that the public would ultimately decide on the fate of the Boring Company in Culver City -- regardless of how much sway Elon Musk had. Clark called the technology itself "exciting."
“It’s very exciting,” Clarke said. “There’s a lot happening in transportation — drones flying overhead, autonomous vehicles on the ground and shuttles underneath.”
In addition to the formal meeting last night, the Boring Company also answers questions about the tunnel system through a dedicated online response page.
Public Transit is Still a "Pain in the Ass"
This meeting could've also restored some of the public's faith in Elon Musk's vision after he made controversial statements about public transit in December 2017.
He called public transit a "pain in the ass onstage at a Tesla event on the sidelines of the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference in Long Beach, California, after being questioned about public transportation."
He then went on to slam Japan's relatively successful public transit system known for some of the highest speeds and most consistent operations in the world.
In an area like Los Angeles where traffic is one of the worst in the United States and public transit just as frustrating, Musk's words could've held some truth. However, the present fate of the Boring Company now rests with the city council and the people who would one day use the tunnels should they choose to support the project.