Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk says it would cost about $1 billion to complete a high-speed transit tunnel through the Blue Mountains.
The bold idea was refloated by independent NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham over Twitter, who pitched it to the Tesla boss by explaining Sydney was “choking with traffic”.
“How much to build a 50km tunnel through the Blue Mountains and open up the west of our State?” Mr Buckingham said.
Mr Musk replied it would take about $15 million per kilometre for the two-way tunnel, with an additional $50 million per station, taking the project to an estimated $1 billion.
About $15M/km for a two way high speed transit, so probably around $750M plus maybe $50M/station
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 16, 2019
Mr Buckingham said commuters would access the loop by driving electric vehicles into the station before being transported via elevator into the tunnel.
A special vehicle would then transport them at high speeds between stations, similar to the loop system being tested in Los Angeles. Another is under construction in Chicago.
Mr Musk was not the only one to reply to the proposition.
Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes described the move as “a bargain for Sydney”.
Mr Buckingham, who was once a councillor with Orange City Council, said the transport loop would be “the envy of the world” and benefit regional cities.
“You could live out in the beautiful western region of NSW, enjoy the lifestyle, clean air and national parks while commuting into jobs centres of Penrith and western Sydney,” he said in a statement.
“The infrastructure plan takes the pressure off traffic congestion and resources in Sydney, while providing a lifeline for our regions.”
Mr Buckingham said he would focus on the plan as he seeks re-election and called for the Premier and Opposition Leader to meet with Mr Musk to discuss it.