A tube-based, vacuum-like electric transportation system is going to be built across dozens of miles along an underground stretch of Maryland, our governor says.
Larry Hogan yesterday joined execs from The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s tunnel-digging firm, to tour a proposed dig site in Anne Arundel County. He was joined by Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Scuh.
The governor offered this awkward video on his Twitter account to indicate he’s all-in on the idea:
Get hyped. 🚄 pic.twitter.com/gPRTQWnICi
— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) October 19, 2017
Musk’s hyperloop would consist of a series of pressurized, underground tubes that would shoot people up and down the East Coast inside of pods moving hundreds of miles per hour. The trip from D.C. to New York would take an astounding 29 minutes, he said.
The Tesla and Solar City founder set off a frenzy this summer when he tweeted that he had received “verbal govt approval” to build a system stretching from Washington D.C. to New York.
Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017
White House officials responded that they had had “promising conversations” with Musk’s camp, though officials in the cities where Musk has proposed to build his tunnels essentially told outlets they weren’t really sure what he was talking about.
Fast forward several months, and Gov. Larry Hogan says he’s backing the plan. According to WTOP, the Maryland Department of Transportation has already given The Boring Company a conditional utility permit to dig beneath a 10-mile stretch of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that the state owns.
Interestingly, this is all happening as the Hyperloop’s hypothetical predecessor, Northeast Maglev, is holding another round of community meetings to narrow down its options for building an entirely separate magnetic-levitating train from D.C. to Baltimore.
Maglev is much further along in the process than Musk’s company, having received $28 million in federal funding to conduct an environmental impact study that’s already one year complete. It also has a pre-existing model of success to point to in Japan and China, where Maglev trains have been running accident-free for years.
Hogan had previously thrown his support behind Maglev, even touting its glory from his own trip on a train in Japan.
Residents in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties have recently been pushing back against the company’s plan to build its rail line near their towns. Maglev says it has several routes it could pursue.
Hogan’s office hasn’t responded to a request for comment on whether he now favors The Boring Company’s idea over Maglev’s plan, or if he supports both.
It seems unlikely the two companies would build parallel lines stretching from Union Station to Baltimore, particularly given that we already have a pre-existing MARC train/Amtrak line traveling the same routes. In a separate, previous interview, Maglev’s CEO Wayne Rogers said his train would travel partly underground and partly aboveground between Union Station and BWI Airport.
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