Elon Musk’s team helps Miami mayor to dream about traffic-free city

Elon Musk knows how to dream big, and he may be helping Miami Mayor Francis Suarez to do the same.

The 49-year-old billionaire tweeted in January that there is a solution to Miami traffic. Critics met him with criticism over his lack of knowledge about the geology of Florida. On Thursday, Suarez met with representatives of Musk’s Boring Company at City Hall in Coconut Grove.

Musk founded the infrastructure and tunnel construction services company in 2016 and unveiled its first underground tunnel in Los Angeles in 2018. It was part of a traffic solution plan that included a high-speed underground public transportation system with autonomous electric vehicles.

“Our residents are crying out for help,” Suarez said, adding the area’s population is increasing and officials need to be prepared.

The Boring Company released this photograph of one of their tunnels, an innovative strategy that the company reps say could get rid of the traffic problem between Brickell and downtown Miami. (The Boring Company)

Suarez said they are discussing two options: One is underground and the other is overground. The underground option would likely start with a tunnel to connect Brickell and downtown Miami. The overground option would involve adding infrastructure to the Metrorail system.

“Doing something more comprehensive with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami as a way of connecting the current Metrorail system to a variety of different important locations throughout the city in a way you can’t do with an overground system because you can be more direct underground,” Suarez said.

The conversation on Thursday is just the beginning. Suarez plans to travel to Las Vegas from March 18-19 to get a closer look at the Boring Company’s tunnels.

“They have tunnels that you get in from the top and tunnels where you take an escalator down and you’re already below the surface,” Suarez said.

POPULATION GROWTH: In 2019, the U.S. Census estimated Miami-Dade had a population of more than 2.7 million, including nearly 468,000 in Miami. In 2007, Miami-Dade estimated that if the growth trend continued there would be about 2.8 million in 2020 and 3 million in 2025.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.