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Mo. coalition forms to lure high-speed Hyperloop route for I-70

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Updated Oct 13, 2017
An artist renders the concept of a hyperloop capsule. (Photo: Tesla)An artist renders the concept of a hyperloop capsule. (Photo: Tesla)

A new coalition is raising money to try to attract a Hyperloop route to Missouri between Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis along Interstate 70.

The coalition hopes to beat out other urban areas around the world to entice the Hyperloop One company to build its first Hyperloop route in Missouri. The company says it has built a full-scale Hyperloop test system in Apex, Nevada.

The transit system would move passengers and cargo in pods by electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod would lift above the track by magnetic levitation and glide at speeds of up to 700 mph, according to the company.

Hyperloop One has chosen 10 potential spots for a Hyperloop, but Missouri was not one of them. However, a statement from the coalition says the company is interested in the proposal for the state.

“Our proposed route connects two major metropolitan areas in the same state along with a major research university, and we have the most favorable regulatory and cost environment of any proposed build site,” says Andrew Smith, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “Hyperloop One is encouraging us to take the next step with an engineering feasibility study.”

On September 14, Hyperloop One announced the following 10 contenders for its first high-speed loop system: Cheyenne, Wyoming to Denver to Pueblo, Colorado; Chicago to Columbus to Pittsburgh; Miami to Orlando; Dallas to Houston; Edinburgh to London; Glasgow to Liverpool; Mexico City to Guadalajara; Bengaluru to Chennai, India; Mumbai to Chennai, India; and Toronto to Montreal.

The company has also entered a partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study for the Cheyenne-Denver-Pueblo route.

The Missouri coalition hopes it, too, can form a partnership with the company. It said its first task is to raise $1.5 million for a feasibility study.

The coalition says the route would allow “5 million residents to access research universities, a network of world-class plant science and animal health research hubs, and growing business communities in less than 25 minutes. It would give Missouri an undeniable edge in attracting new business and talent. Building along I-70, the birthplace of the US Interstate system, is uniquely attractive.”

Hyperloop One says it is working with each winning team to analyze their proposals. It will host “the world’s first global summit around Hyperloop One technology in early 2018 that will bring together all of our government and industry partners and really kick off the growth of our hardware and software platforms,” the company says.

Hyperloop One is among other companies racing to advance the experimental technology.

The Boring Company wants to build a Hyperloop between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and Hyperloop Transportation Technology hopes to build one in Quay Valley, California, according to The New York Times.

Hyperloop One told the Times it hopes to have three Hyperloop systems operating by 2021.

The Missouri Hyperloop Coalition consists of the following members: Missouri Department of Transportation, St. Louis Regional Chamber, KC Tech Council, University of Missouri System, and Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia.