The tech entrepreneur, founder, CEO and lead innovator at SpaceX, announced on 20th July, 2017, that he had received verbal approval to commence constructing his dream project of ultra-high speed hyperloop transport system. Earlier it was disclosed that Musk had already started the pilot testing trench in his SpaceX premises that did not require any special permission from the State. Elon’s tunnel boring mission aims at providing accessible and viable transportation expected to emerge as a revolution to combat the regular traffic snarl faced by large number of people in daily commutation. Though the nitty-gritty of the ground on which the project received a green signal from the State is yet to disclosed, CEO of electric car manufacturer says that passengers and cargo can embark on a seamless intercity system. The highlight of the project is to connect central business hubs in the city to suburbs, with an assurance of superseding urban congestion. The original plan projected alleviation of traffic bottlenecks with a hyperloop system built from Los Angeles to San Francisco with likely expansions thereof. The use of electromagnetic propulsion proposed to be manifold times rapid that the existing high-speed trains, aims to restrict travel time between New York City and Washington DC to about 29 minutes only. The current high speed Acela train takes nearly 3 hours to travel a distance of 220 miles between NYC and DC.
As opposed to Musk’s latest tweets, officials in WC and NYC said that the tunnel project has not yet been approved. They recapped that Elon’s boring plans would need extensive environmental as well as construction permits to support his ambitious project. When asked for details, Musk briefed in his statement that they expected “to secure the formal approvals necessary to break ground later this year” and that they had a lot of work to take on before receiving formal approvals. The press secretary for New York City replied to Musk’s tweet, stating that it was news to the “City Hall.” In a trailing tweet, Musk said that the supporters of the project should lobby with local and elected federal government officials for expediting work on the venture. While Musk in 2013 had announced that the hyperloop network is expected to cost less than $6 billion for connecting L.A and San Francisco city, it could take almost a decade to build the same. The goal would however, be to minimise the cost as much as possible by improving the thermal and power limit of the machines. As reported by Reuters, in March, Musk met the U.S President, Donald Trump at White House and also discussed his vision of launching a mission to Mars. Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council Director at White House, praised Musk’s idea of using tunnels to hasten rail transit as an intervention to curb traffic on the overtly congested eastern seaboard of the United States. White House subsequently released statements that they had a promising conversation with Musk and were supportive of “transformative infrastructure projects.”
While Musk’s tweets are alluring for the city and its commuters, the lack of details prompted a series of questions and scepticism to hover around its buzz. One of the pertinent queries that raised brows is the cost of the project. Who would pay for the high-end project? In fact it was heard that Musk had been accruing personal funds for materialization of the project. The second question refers to the time taken to build it? Though Musk indicated that it could take up to 10 years to make the tube train functional, clarity on its design delivery is pending detailed discussion. Musk said that that the supersonic mode of transportation connecting NY and DC would take only 29 minutes, the speed train would halt in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Details on additional stops and time remain unmentioned. “City centre to city centre in each case, with a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city” is what Musk explained in his follow-up tweet.
What appears is that Elon Musk has had several rounds of informal discussion with the White House officials about his vacuum tube under rail network, which when supported by both the private and public sector could be realized as a technological revolution in transportation for the U.S. While spokespersons from the Boring Company confirmed promising confirmations regarding the project nod, the mammoth project still requires collaboration with cities, states, transportation authorities and federal government to give the final working approval. Musk’s statement about “verbal govt approval” has already gained popularity with followers re-tweeting more than 34,000 times, projecting the anticipated glory of the mega-project.
Article by Rochita.