By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It all began with a tweet from Elon Musk, suggesting tunnels could help ease traffic in Miami.

Broward Mayor Dean Trantalis and County Vice Mayor Michael Udine responded saying, “Let’s talk about a tunnel in Fort Lauderdale.”

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On Wednesday, they had that talk with Musk’s outfit called “The Boring Company.”

“A tunnel would come under the river, come under Broward, even Sunrise Blvd. It would be a 3-mile long tunnel,” said Mayor Dean Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale.

The idea is to build a tunnel for the train from NE 13th Street going under Sunrise, below Broward Blvd, beneath the New River, and come back up after Davie Blvd and the Tarpon River.

“We just finished a conference call with an executive from Elon Musk’s Boring Company,” said Udine.

Udine and Trantalis learned the potential cost is much better than they expected because of new technology.

“The cost of this undertaking is significantly less than the costs we were given by the Florida Dept. of Transportation. Where we were told it could cost a billion dollars a mile, we’re now talking 10 million to 20 million a mile,” said Trantalis.

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The idea of a tunnel under the New River comes as welcomed news by the huge marine community. Fort Lauderdale is known as the Yachting Capital of the world.

“It’s a 9.7 billion dollar industry that reflects 121,000 jobs and pays 16% higher than the state average,” said Phil Purcell, CEO of Marine Industries Association.

With the train bridge just 4 feet above the water, all boating traffic comes to a stop when it’s down. With a good chunk of marine services inland, waiting for a bridge could send yacht owners to other cities.

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“These people could make a decision, ‘I’m going to go to Savannah, I’m going to go to the Gulf Coast, it’s too much a pain in the neck, there’s no predictability on the river,’” said Purcell.

Local leaders say if this 3-mile tunnel could work, it would be a game-changer for the area’s transportation needs.

“The possibilities are endless. We could have east-west commuter lines going out to the suburbs, we could have lines going out to the beach where people don’t have to park at the beach they can park downtown,” said Trantalis.

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The mayor said the Boring Company is coming to Fort Lauderdale soon, but he doesn’t know exactly when. They’re trying to figure out what the obstacles are and how they can overcome them.

Ted Scouten