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3p Weekend: Elon Musk Claims “Verbal Approval” to Build East Coast Underground Hyperloop; Cities Shrug

leonkaye headshotWords by Leon Kaye
Leadership & Transparency
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With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

 

Donald Trump’s ability to score attention via social media is unparalleled, but Elon Musk is not far behind. The CEO of Tesla scored heaps of excitement, mixed with some scorn, when he announced yesterday that he had “verbal government approval” to build an underground tunnel for a Hyperloop that would link New York City to Washington, D.C.

[embed]https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/888053175155949572[/embed]

Musk claims The Boring Company's  Hyperloop system could transport citizens from DC to New York in 29 minutes. The Boring Company first began as a joke born of traffic frustration, then became pipe dream. But since Musk first floated the idea of the Hyperloop in 2013, various start-ups have tested the idea. Hyperloop One, for example, launched its first test run last year.

Musk’s reputation as a master technology and business disruptor is also taking shape with The Boring Company. Earlier this year, the company’s technology, which supposedly can dig and reinforce tunnels at the same time, started a test project in Los Angeles. Musk in part launched the venture out of his criticism of conventional tunnel construction, which in the most extreme cases can cost $1 billion a mile. A recent Wall Street Journal assessment of tunneling infrastructure projects in New York City estimated that the costs range from $19,000 to $1 million per foot, though advances in technology both lower costs and speed up the process.

The northeastern U.S. has long relied on rail to move travelers from D.C. to Boston, though critics of Amtrak say that the system is expensive and slow despite the 2000 rollout of Acela Express.

But as of press time, officials in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, the four largest cities that would be served by Musk’s conceptual Hyperloop, have denied any such approval for a project. “Nobody in City Hall, or any of our city agencies, has heard from Mr. Musk or any representatives of his company,” said a spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in an emailed statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Image credit: The Boring Company

Leon Kaye headshotLeon Kaye

Leon Kaye, Executive Editor, has written for Triple Pundit since 2010. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media, and the Editor in Chief of CR Magazine. His previous work can be found at The GuardianSustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas.

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