The hyperloop technology, which seems to be taken off the set of a sci-fi flick, is an autonomous transportation system that could move people or freight by propelling magnetic-levitating vehicle pods through low-pressure tubes at speeds approaching 700 mph. It claims to be safe, fast, and energy-efficient.
According to Virgin Hyperloop’s website, “A formal U.S. certification center will help hyperloop achieve key technological milestones, like faster speeds and turning, and political ones, like creating a national framework for safety certification.”
The proposed location would have been a six-mile track along State Highway 360 near DFW International Airport.
“[W]e have determined that the Texas proposal, while incorporating a number of beneficial elements, nonetheless presents several notable risks that we feel may be difficult to mitigate effectively within the time frame of our [hyperloop certification center] project development process,” the letter to NCTCOG stated.
“We worked hard to get through phase one and phase two, but neither Virgin Hyperloop nor we [NCTCOG] could get support from the state,” Michael Morris, Director of Transportation for NCTCOG told the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) at its August meeting.
NCTCOG’s second phase proposal included between $190 million and $300 million in public funding for the hyperloop project.
“It’s not the last time you’ll hear about hyperloop,” as Morris added that NCTCOG continues to have a great relationship with Virgin Hyperloop.
He said that the RTC authored a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation requesting that hyperloop technology be considered for a leg between Fort Worth and Laredo as part of an overall plan for high-speed transportation in the state.
Virgin Hyperloop seems interested in pursuing that route, as well, stating in its letter to NCTCOG that “we would like to simultaneously advance the potential Fort Worth to Laredo hyperloop corridor planning program, recognizing the long lead time necessary for implementation of any new transportation system.”
The technology has been in the works since 2014 and has a test facility in Nevada. However, the privately-held company is now seeking to build a six-mile certification track to further test the safety and efficiency of the technology and to satisfy government regulations.
The United States Department of Transportation released guidance in July on a clear regulatory framework for hyperloop technology in the United States.
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Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.