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Elon Musk says he has a green light to build a NY–Philly–Baltimore–DC hyperloop

Elon Musk says he has a green light to build a NY–Philly–Baltimore–DC hyperloop


‘Verbal govt approval’

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@davesvanlife, via Business Insider

Elon Musk just tweeted that his Boring Company tunnel project has received “verbal [government] approval” to build a hyperloop connecting New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

While we work to verify his claim, Musk is continuing to tweet more details about the project. The hyperloop, an ultrafast method of travel first developed by Musk in 2013, would only take 29 minutes to travel between New York City and DC, he claims. And it would feature “up to a dozen or more” access points via elevator in each city.

Musk famously released his hyperloop concept as an open-source white paper in 2013, arguing that he was too busy with his companies Tesla and SpaceX to devote energy to it. Since then, Musk has grown increasingly frustrated with surface-level transportation, as evidenced by his tunnel project dubbed the Boring Company.

The Boring Company started as a joke, but became increasingly serious as Musk began tunneling in a parking lot outside of SpaceX in an effort to demonstrate his ability to dig faster and more efficiently than traditional tunneling projects. Musk says he’s working on tunnel-boring machines than can simultaneously dig up and reinforce tunnels, which could go a long way toward solving a big engineering challenge. He recently announced the completion of the first section of tunnel under Los Angeles.

Since then, he has released a number of photos and concept videos demonstrating how his intricate underground roadway system would actually look. It looked amazing, but irked public transportation advocates for prioritizing individual optimization over system optimization.

As far as what he meant by “verbal govt approval,” we’ve reached out to both the Boring Company and the US Department of Transportation for more information, and we’ll update this post if we hear back. Some are already speculating that Musk may have gotten the sign off from White House senior advisor (and Trump son-in-law) Jared Kushner’s office of American Innovation, which has expressed interest in the hyperloop.

Update, July 20th, 11:43AM ET:

Musk is continuing to tweet his thoughts about this (maybe completely insane?) project.

According to his tweet, work on the New York-to-DC tunnel / hyperloop will happen in parallel to the already-in-progress LA tunnel. And if Texas wants a hyperloop, too, well who is Elon Musk to deny Texas a hyperloop.

Update, July 20th, 12:47AM ET:

In a subsequent tweet, Musk clarified what sort of approval his project has received.

Meanwhile, transit experts sounded a skeptical note about how “rapidly” Musk’s project would get approved.

Elon Musk's hyperloop competition in 2016