A modified Tesla Inc. Model X drives in the tunnel at an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, U.S. (Photographer: Robyn Beck/Pool via Bloomberg via Bloomberg)

Elon Musk in Talks to Bore Tunnels in Israel, Netanyahu Says

(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk is in talks with the Israeli government to build tunnels in the country, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a campaign event this week.

Musk’s Boring Co. tunneling business could help boost much-needed infrastructure development in Israel, which suffers from a beleaguered public transportation system and the worst traffic in the developed world.

“I met a man that they call Elon Musk -- have you heard of him? A real genius,” Netanyahu said at a campaign event Tuesday night when asked about the country’s transportation system. “Right now we’re in conversation with him to see if we can tunnel the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu faces a tough re-election battle April 9 against the Blue & White bloc, which has suggested tapping Israel’s nascent sovereign wealth fund to pay for transportation infrastructure projects.

Netanyahu said he and Musk had breakfast at the prime minister’s residence, and Musk discussed his tunneling technology. Local media reported the billionaire entrepreneur visited Israel in March 2018.

The Boring Co. is taking steps toward developing projects in cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago, but doesn’t currently have any international projects on its website. The company did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

Musk also runs electric car-maker Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. His space company recently helped launch the Israeli lunar module Beresheet aboard one of its rockets.

Israel’s public transportation system is beset by issues, while the country’s traffic rises. Inefficient public transport could cost the economy 25 billion shekels ($6.9 billion) a year by 2030 if urgent changes aren’t made, the state comptroller found.

A spokesman for Israel’s Transportation Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

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