The votes have been counted, and “Driller Mike” is the official name of Atlanta’s massive tunnel boring machine, named after Atlanta rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render.
More than 700 names were submitted in the naming contest conducted by the Department of Watershed Management, with “Scarlett,” “Peach Beast,” and “Driller Mike” selected as the three finalists. “Driller Mike” received nearly 85 percent of the votes from Atlanta residents and water advocates, the city announced on Wednesday.
The 400-foot boring machine will be used to create a five-mile tunnel connecting the former Bellwood Quarry, the Chattahoochee River and the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant. The Water Supply Program is expected to cost $300 million. Once the tunnel is completed, the quarry will hold a 30-day drinking water supply for Atlanta residents, compared to the three-day supply the city currently has.
The Grammy-winning rapper joined city officials in a press conference to announce the name.
“I use my voice to advocate for those who feel voiceless,” said Killer Mike, in a news release about the event. “Water supply is an important issue for everyone in Atlanta and this is my opportunity to educate people on critical water issues facing our city, our region and our nation. I am grateful that my name can be a part of this lasting legacy for the City of Atlanta.”
In comments to the Associated Press, Killer Mike said he “laughed hysterically” when he first heard about the name. He said he hopes eventually to have a street named after him, but he is honored by the gesture.
Killer Mike’s new namesake even has his own Twitter feed, with photos of the machine.