The Boring Company’s 2.7-mile proof-of-concept tunnel under Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA is facing stiff opposition from two local neighborhood groups, after the organizations filed a joint lawsuit against the tunneling startup’s exemption from environmental review.
The lawsuit was filed by two Westside organizations — the Brentwood Residents Coalition and the Sunset Coalition. Filed last month, the neighborhood groups’ suit alleges that the local government violated state law when it decided to exempt the Boring Company’s proof-of-concept tunnel from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The neighborhood groups are also challenging the city’s decision last March that permitted The Boring Co. to haul dirt from its tunneling project.
At the core of the lawsuit is the allegation that the Boring Company’s proof-of-concept project is actually part of a larger system of tunnels that would eventually be used for public transportation. According to the neighborhood groups, state law prohibits government agencies such as the City Council Public Works Committee to grant “piecemeal” approval to just one component of a larger project. The exemption also expedites the tunneling startup’s initiatives, considering that environmental reviews could add months or even years to a project’s timeline.
“The state’s environmental law cannot be evaded by chopping large projects into smaller pieces that taken individually appear to have no significant environmental impacts,” part of the lawsuit stated, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole echoed the opposition of the neighborhood groups to the Boring Company’s tunneling project. In a statement to the Times, Cole, who previously served as deputy mayor to Garcetti, claimed that the startup’s tunnel systems would create a class divide among commuters.
“We’ll have people stuck in traffic on the surface, and this miracle fast lane underground for the people who can afford it. It’ll be toll lanes on steroids,” Cole said.
In its website’s FAQ, the Boring Company states that its LA proof-of-concept tunnel will be used for testing purposes. The startup also noted that Phase 1, which corresponds to the Sepulveda Blvd – Culver City tunnel, will not be used for public transportation, at least until the project is considered successful by the county, the city government, and by the company itself.
“The tunnel would be used for construction logistics verification, system testing, safety testing, operating procedure verification, and line-switching demonstrations. Phase 1 would not be utilized for public transportation until the proof-of-process tunnel is deemed successful by County government, City government, and TBC.”
The Boring Company has issued an open invitation for a town hall meeting for individuals and parties interested in its LA tunneling projects. As stated in an online flyer for the event, the meeting will be held this Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. local time at the Leo Baeck Temple, 1300 N Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.
Just recently, Elon Musk shared a short video clip of the Boring Company’s Hawthorne tunnel, stating that the project is almost complete. Musk also noted that once the tunnel is fully operational, the startup would be offering free rides to the public. Musk reiterated the Boring Company’s commitment to public transportation as well, stating that the system will always give priority to pedestrians and cyclists for “less than the cost of a bus ticket.”