Elon Musk just casually announced on Twitter that he received “verbal government approval” for The Boring Company, his new tunnel boring startup, to build an underground Hyperloop system connecting New York city, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC.
The system would be fast enough to travel “city center to city center” between New York City and Washington DC in just 29 minutes, according to Musk.
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The CEO keeps sending mixed messages about the startup. One day, he says it’s just “a few engineers and interns”, but the next day, they already have a giant boring machine digging under Los Angeles and now they reportedly have government approval for a massive system on the east coast?
Musk didn’t say what level of government approved the tunnel/hyperloop system, but they would presumably need approval at several different levels and states since it’s going through several cities and states.
Update: the White House confirmed that it has been in talks with Musk and The Boring Company over the planned tunnel.
As usual, Musk made the announcement through his favorite platform, Twitter:
The news comes after Musk announced last month that The Boring Company completed the first segment of its tunnel under Los Angeles.
At first, Musk presented his idea for networks of tunnels as a way to move cars on electric sleds at high-speed underneath cities in order to alleviate traffic, and the mayors of Los Angeles and Chicago both showed interest in developing the networks, but Musk also said that the technology could be used to bring his Hyperloop idea underground for long distance travel.
The Hyperloop is a high-speed transportation system that moves pods of passengers or cargo in low-pressure tubes. Musk released the idea as an open source technology in a white paper in 2013. A few companies, like Hyperloop One, have since been developing commercial versions of the technology while Musk mostly stayed away citing not enough time to pursue the venture between Tesla and SpaceX.
Now it looks like he will be getting back into the Hyperloop space through his boring company and New York to DC could be the first route.
Though verbal approval doesn’t mean that everything is set in stone. The premature announcement could be to drum up support for the project:
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration isn’t in ‘the loop’ so to speak but with how New York has been handling MTA and the subways lately, I’d imagine Musk wants to keep them as far away as possible.
They are also exploring other routes. The network of tunnels underneath cities is still in play, but Musk is apparently also considering Los Angeles to San Francisco and a “Texas Loop” for long distance routes:
Considering the LA system is arguably already in motion and that they plan the NY-DC in parallel, Musk’s little “side project” could become way bigger and a lot faster. Especially if Hyperloop is now part of the deal.
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