Monday, May 13, 2019

This does not bode well

As many have noted, the competition for economic development has a record of corrupting and/or sharply lowering the intellects of state and local officials. The hyperloop and other Musk proposals have a history of doing the same thing.

Now imagine what is likely to happen when you combine the two.

Only three months ago, another Virgin Hyperloop executive, Assistant General Counsel Nathan Roth, said Texas was "basically ... in the lead" for a hyperloop route because transportation officials in the Dallas area had started a federal environmental impact study — something he said no other area had done.

Such an impact study is different than what Missouri completed and was recently lauded by Walder. Missouri's study released in October was a nine-month feasibility report conducted by Black & Veatch and Olsson Associates. It focused on social impact, potential station locations, route alignments, regulator issues and rights-of-way access.

The process of securing a hyperloop route is indeed complex — so much so that the U.S. Department of Transportation in March launched an organization to help new transportation technologies such as hyperloop come to fruition quicker.

Virgin Hyperloop isn't the only company pushing the technology made popular by tech visionary Elon Musk. Earlier this year, it was reported that Transonic Transportation LLC, a Louisiana-based startup, is working on a hyperloop route in Texas that would transport freight. The company originally investigated a route that would move people.

"There's just no way we can do passenger transport in Texas in the next 20 years, so we ended up refocusing on freight," co-founder Josh Manriquez said in January.

The freight route he now envisions would run from Laredo at the Mexico border to San Antonio.
[Side note. I may not have mentioned it recently, but maglev vactrains are even more problematic for carrying freight than they are for carrying people.]

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