Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Project Promises 29-Minute Trip Between New York And D.C.

Imagine traveling from New York City to Washington, D.C. in 29 minutes. The stuff of dreams, right? Well, it might become a reality. Billionaire Elon Musk (because of course) has an idea for a special tunnel project to make it possible. He calls it the Hyperloop.

Musk announced his idea on Twitter last week, claiming he has government approval for his proposed transportation system. Other potential cities for this project include Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland.

What Is The Hyperloop?

Musk’s project sounds more like an amusement park ride than a transportation solution. Perhaps that’s because the concept for the Hyperloop uses similar technology.

Think of the Hyperloop as a magnetic tunnel system. Basically, all you would have to do is drive your car into a pod at your starting point and let the pod do the work. These pods have electric motors and massive magnets, allowing them to levitate inside a vacuum environment. Because of this, the Hyperloop pods encounter no friction and can travel up to 700 mph!

Musk, who developed the idea, gave a little more detail on the system set-up via Twitter:

Sounds so science fiction!

But it’s not. Because the Hyperloop concept already has undergone tests in the Nevada desert. The test team used a “magnetically-levitated sled,” according to Wired. If the project goes forward, those specially-designed pods would be popped inside those vacuum-sealed tubes in order to carry people and cargo from city center to city center.

Musk wants to see Hyperloop transportation systems across the U.S., including a line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. Texas also makes the short list for the project.

What Do Government Officials Think?

The thought of easing congestion on state and local roads sounds appealing. But government officials need to approve such a big infrastructure project.

However, Musk’s claim of “verbal approval” may have been a little premature.

A White House spokesman confirmed with the Los Angeles Times that there had, indeed, been “promising conversations” with Musk executives. He also said the White House is “committed to transformative infrastructure projects.” Yet the spokesman did not confirm any federal government approval for the project.

Also, city officials connected with the East Coast version of the project seem a bit “out of the loop.”

“Nobody in City Hall, or any of our city agencies, has heard from Mr. Musk or any representatives of his company,” Ben Sarle, deputy press secretary for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in an emailed statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Representatives from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington also told the newspaper they’d had no direct contact with Musk. However, they all seem “excited” about the prospect.