Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas is about to start its operations, and when it does, it would be one of the United States’ most ambitious vehicle production facilities. The massive factory, which Elon Musk has noted will be almost a mile long when completed, is expected to hire thousands of workers in the area.
The arrival of Tesla in Texas and the influx of companies moving into the state will likely trigger an increase in the number of people residing in cities like Austin. With this in mind, Austin transit leaders recently stated that the city’s transportation network would play a critical role in aiding or hindering further development. After all, all those new workers need a way to get to and from their jobs.
The discussions were held during a South by Southwest panel on Thursday, where transportation startup leaders highlighted that Austin’s efforts to invest in new mass transit operations are steps in the right direction. Austin-based ai Fleet CEO Marc El Khoury noted that the city and its surrounding areas would be attractive for companies developing innovative transit technologies.
“Austin and especially the surrounding area of Austin have more space and are more attractive for transportation than the New York or Bay Area would be. So really, all of these factors together become really attractive for transportation companies and forwards population growth, which is also really attractive because it’s a predictor of how the economy of the area is going to be,” he said, according to a KXAN report.
Grayline Group President Joseph Kopser remarked that Texas’ favorable environment is probably one of the reasons why Tesla CEO Elon Musk moved to the state. Tesla is on track to become one of the key drivers contributing to Austin’s population growth, seeing as facilities like Gigafactory Texas will be employing thousands of workers. Musk’s other companies like SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink have also set roots in Texas.
“I think Elon Musk is coming here because of the companies that are already here. To build an ecosystem, you need to have cash, customers, and commitment,” Kopser said.
The comments of Austin’s transit leaders bode well for Elon Musk’s future projects in the state. With cities like Austin looking for innovative ways to battle congestion, The Boring Company and its Loop System can emerge as one of the options that the city might consider to battle traffic. In the long run, innovative ways to transport commuters from Point A to Point B — such as a Robotaxi Network — could also be deployed in cities like Austin.