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San Antonio: Autonomous Transport System From Airport to Downtown Closer to Fruition

Feature Illustration: Artist rendering of an autonomous  vehicle traveling through a tunnel. Image: iStock 

Posted: 1-28-2022

by Brenda Romano

San Antonio (Bexar County) A long-awaited transport system between the San Antonio International Airport and downtown San Antonio is one step closer to reality after proposals were delivered and scored by the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (Alamo RMA).

The concept calls for construction of an autonomous transport system to expedite travel between the airport and the city’s center with a cost estimate ranging from $240 million to over $330 million.

There was a total of five submittals for the RFQ/RFP that were due last December (see VBX #2021-7014).  Of those submitted, two proposals have been vetted to take the next steps in the selection process.

The Boring Company (TBC), owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, scored highest with 91.6 points based on its prior experience in building a similar project involving the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the proposal allows for tunnel expansion in the future. 

According to officials with Alama RMA, TBC’s proposal offers a turn-key solution, in which the firm would self-finance construction of the project.   

The project would include use of Tesla automobiles to transport passengers through a tunnel 30 feet below the surface. 

Bexar Automated Transport (BAT) earned a second place slot, scoring 80 points.  BAT is a collaboration between three companies:  Thalle Construction Co., Inc. of Hillsborough, North Carolina (part of the Tully Group); SAK Construction, LLC from Missouri and Modutram Mexico, a software company based in Guadalajara, Mexico.  

The short-listed proposal cited Modutram Mexico’s experience in operating a similar test and demo project in Guadalajara, Mexico for over 10 years and included comprehensive revenue projections.  It outlines the use of a rail system with both elevated and underground tracks. 

Bexar Automated Transport would require a construction subsidy to build the project along with recommendations that operation of the system be handled by VIA Metropolitan Transit

Both prospects will be asked to prepare a plan to solicit public input and invited to make formal presentations of their design.

VBX Project ID: 2021-7014