- Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday accepted a proposal from The Boring Company for a tunnel under the city.
- City Commissioner Ben Sorensen told Insider it’s likely to cost $10 million to $15 million per mile.
- The Boring Company would front the money for the project before it’s refunded from public sources.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The Boring Company’s proposal for a beach-to-downtown tunnel in Fort Lauderdale has just been accepted by city officials. Insider has learned that the cost is likely to be at least $30 million.
The tunnel, called “The Las Olas Loop,” would stretch for about 2.5 miles and is likely to cost between $10 million and $15 million per mile, City Commissioner Ben Sorensen said in a phone interview.
The total cost will depend on whether there are two tunnels, one headed each direction, Sorensen said, citing his conversations with The Boring Company. The lowest estimate for the project cost would be around $30 million, he said.
“I think if it’s done right, this is a chance to have a carbon-neutral, basically all-electric, solar-powered transportation system for the public,” Sorensen said. “So that’s very exciting to consider.”
The city on Tuesday accepted the proposal in a 4-1 vote, starting the clock on a 45-day period for counter-proposals from other tunneling companies.
The full details of The Boring Company’s proposal won’t be made public until the bidding period ends.
If no further proposals emerge, the city will invite The Boring Company to do a deeper dive into the project, including geological studies, Mayor Dean J. Trantalis said in a YouTube video posted on Wednesday.
Trantalis said the town was “very hopeful” that the project would progress.
“In the meantime, we start reaching out for funding sources,” Trantalis said. “The Boring Company will front the money to build the project, and then that gives us time to try to tap into county, state, and federal funding in order to pay for this.”
Sorensen said he’s begun early talks with Florida’s congressional delegation about seeking federal funding.
Mike Mooney, Grewcock University endowed chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Colorado School of Mines, said the project cost was “much lower…than what you would typically see for a tunnel project.”
Mooney added: “I don’t have insights into the details of that cost proposal, but that is a significant difference between what The Boring Company does versus what others do for say a similar size and length tunnel.”
The Boring Company didn’t respond to a request for comment on the project or funding. The company lists two job postings in Fort Lauderdale: a permiting and operations coordinator, and a civil engineer and logistics coordinator.
“I look forward to working with you to make Florida the next stop for tunneling technology,” Moraitis wrote.
The Florida Department of Transportation would be responsible for helping the city if the project moves forward, the governor’s office said on Friday.
“Fort Lauderdale has not requested state funding for this project, so there is nothing to approve at this point,” said Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary.
On social media, some questioned whether a tunnel in a coastal area would be susceptible to flooding, especially during hurricanes.
But Mooney said those were mostly concerns from the “layperson perspective” — people who weren’t tunnel experts.
“The transfer of geology — the Las Vegas geology and the California geology — it will be much different than the Fort Lauderdale-area geology, ground conditions, and ground water conditions,” he said. “So that will be the biggest new aspect that any company would need to deal with in moving to a new site.”