Trump advisor Cohn touts Elon Musk's infrastructure solution: Tunnels

White House's Gary Cohn talks Elon Musk during CEO town hall

Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn said Elon Musk could build new infrastructure all over the United States.

Or, rather, beneath it.

At a White House town hall meeting for CEOs and business leaders on Tuesday, Cohn said he has been soliciting Musk for ideas on how to construct new rails and roads for better transportation around the country.

And the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he can "tunnel the whole way," according to Cohn.


Musk first began discussing his tunneling project in December 2016, after saying that traffic was driving him "nuts."

Since then he has said he plans to start a separate company and develop machinery that can burrow underground at a faster pace than what's currently available. He even said he would name it "The Boring Company."


Musk has also been digging a tunnel under SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, near Los Angeles, and, as Cohn says, has been at work on tunnels at other locations.

The logic behind the goal is this: Musk says tunneling into the Earth solves the problem posed by the congestion created in dense cities with tall buildings and limited street space.

Workers lower the tail shield section of a tunnel boring machine into a 45 foot deep pit, during a ceremonial naming and lowering for the Regional Connector Transit Project downtown Los Angeles in 2016.
Richard Vogel | AP

"You have tall buildings," he said in a direct message sent via Twitter to Wired. "They're all 3D, and then everyone wants to go into the building and leave the building at a same time," he said. "On a 2D road network, that obviously doesn't work, so you have to go 3D either up or down. And I think probably down."

These tunnels could form networks with up to 30 layers or more, Musk told Wired.

Musk has also suggested the tunnels could be tracks for the Hyperloop system he has proposed.


Of course there may be some obstacles standing in the way, especially in older cities with networks of underground pipes for plumbing and gas.

President Donald Trump has placed a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan among his chief economic priorities. Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are leading the effort, according to a White House spokesperson.