The Boring Company (TBC) is one of the finalists vying for a tunneling project in San Antonio, Texas. The project will run between the San Antonio International Airport and downtown.
The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (Alamo RMA) is expected to make a decision by Wednesday, March 16. According to Alamo RMA Chairman Michael Lynd Jr. the board could select a finalist and start negotiating a development agreement or postpone the decision. The board may also decide not to move forward with the transportation project altogether. The last two companies up for the project are Elon Musk’s tunneling company and Bexar Automated Transport (BAT). Both have vastly different proposals.
“Even if we decide to move forward with a group this week, there’s no assurance that we’ll get to a point that we’re comfortable that the concept is viable,” said Lynd.
The Boring Company’s Proposal
Rumors of a Boring Company tunnel in San Antonio spread last year. TBC proposed twin underground tunnels to the Alamo RMA in a presentation dated January 2022. Tesla vehicles would transport riders between the international airport and downtown.
The Boring Company estimated that the cost of the twin tunnels would be between $241 million to $298 million. TBC would self-finance the project before turning it over to the board. San Antonio Express-News suggested that Elon Musk’s tunneling company aimed to generate income from the project by operating the loop, similar to its deal with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) with the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Loop.
In Sin City, TBC runs the LVCC Loop for the LVCVA. The LVCC Loop offers free rides to convention center attendees and generates income for the LVCVA through ads, sponsorships, and facility rentals.
The Boring Company has another tunneling project in SIn City, called the Vegas Loop. TBC owns and operates the Vegas Loop. Since the Vegas Loop is not operational yet, the Alamo RMA does not know how much TBC would charge local passengers or the revenue the twin tunnels could generate. However, TBC did release a list of possible fare prices for the Vegas Loop in 2021. Prices started at $5 for a 3-minute ride through a 2.8-mile tunnel.
Bexar Automated Transport’s Plans
The other finalist for the San Antonio transportation project, BAT, proposed an autonomous all-electric bus system. BAT’s proposed bus system would travel through a combination of elevated and underground tracks. The buses could accommodate up to eight passengers per trip, running at 45 mph between the airport and the Convention Center. BAT estimated its proposed tunneling system would cost $330 million. The company also stated it would require a public subsidy for construction and recommended that VIA Metropolitan Transit operate the system.
Documents from Praetor Capital forecasted that BAT’s proposed transportation system could charge passengers $6.50 per trip. BAT estimates ridership to be about 500,000 per year for a $13.7 million revenue.
The Alamo RMA board believes it could sell bonds to finance a transportation system project. Ultimately, the final decision seems to rely on finances.
“Ultimately, it’s got to be financible. As the RMA, we don’t have a bunch of money sitting in a bank account that we can throw at a project like this,” Lynd stated.