Entrepreneurs

Salesforce billionaire Marc Benioff asks Elon Musk to dig tunnels in San Francisco: 'Sure, we can do it'

Elon Musk waves after speaking at a Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, May 17, 2018.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
Elon Musk waves after speaking at a Boring Company community meeting in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, May 17, 2018.

Salesforce CEO and billionaire Marc Benioff is working to solve the homeless problem in San Francisco, and he wants to improve the city's transportation system too.

To do it, Benioff asked Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk for help from his infrastructure building business, The Boring Company.

Benioff tweeted the request on Tuesday, saying San Francisco will need rapid transportation from downtown to surrounding suburbs and other cities, including Los Angeles.

Musk responded: "Sure, we can do it."

The Boring Company is currently digging a test tunnel that could eventually lead to a network of tunnels in Los Angeles (likely for mass transit, pedestrians, cyclists and cars, Musk has said) in order to ease traffic.

The first 2-mile test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, where Tesla and SpaceX have offices, cost $10 million per mile to build and is set to have an opening party Dec. 10, according to Musk.

The Boring Company does not have any projects "in progress" in the San Francisco area, a spokesperson tells CNBC Make It. But it would "be excited to develop fast, sustainable and affordable public transportation options for San Francisco," the company spokesperson says.

On Nov. 3, Musk tweeted a video showing The Boring Company's progress.

Though Musk often features his tunneling venture — and the associated branded paraphernalia he's sold — on his Twitter account, he has said the majority of his time is spent working on Tesla and SpaceX.

"The Boring Company, to be clear, it's like literally 2 percent of my time. It's probably 20 percent of my tweets, but tweets do not correlate to actual time spent. I sort of just have fun with The Boring Company," said Musk at the South by Southwest tech conference in Austin, Texas, in March.

Musk would actually have preferred that another entrepreneur take on tunneling.

"It's not because of some epiphany that I had one day driving on the 405," he says, referring to a famously congested highway in Los Angeles. "That's how it gets translated somehow. I was talking about tunnels for years and years, for probably five years or four years at least.

"Whenever I would give a talk and people would ask me about what opportunities do you see in the world, I would say, 'Tunnels. Can someone please build tunnels?'" Musk said at SXSW.

"So after four or five years of begging people to build tunnels and still no tunnels, I was like, 'Okay, I am going to build a tunnel.' Like maybe I am missing something here, so I was basically talking people's ears off about tunnels for several years and then said, 'Well, let's find out what it takes to build a tunnel.' And so, yeah, I started digging a tunnel."

A representative from Salesforce had no additional comment on Benioff's tweet.

This story has been updated to include a response from The Boring Company.

See also:

Elon Musk announces a big change to his tunneling venture: It will 'prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars'

Talk about customer service—Elon Musk responds to Tesla drivers' super specific questions on Twitter

Elon Musk remembers the SpaceX of 10 years ago: 'We couldn't even reach orbit with little Falcon 1'