Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday that one of his other projects, the tunneling and infrastructure firm known as The Boring Company, has received “verbal government approval” to build an underground hyperloop from New York City to Washington, D.C.
Musk said the hyperloop, a supersonic-speed mode of transportation that he first proposed in 2012, would be able to travel between the two cities in 29 minutes, as well as make stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore. (Musk didn’t specify if that time includes the additional stops.)
“City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city,” Musk explained in a follow-up Tweet.
Musk responded to some users’ tweets, telling one that he would work on the New York to D.C. tunnel while simultaneously continuing work on the Los Angeles tunnel that began in June. There could even be a Texas loop that makes stops in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, Musk said.
But about two hours later, Musk clarified his original statement, saying there was still much work to be done.
Some observers point out that it’s unclear which government agencies Musk has spoken with, and that he would need approval from a large number of varied stakeholders:
Government officials from New York City, one of the anchors of Musk’s theoretical hyperloop route, said Thursday they’re unfamiliar with the plan:
The news follows last week’s announcement that Hyperloop One, a separate, independent spin-off company that has been working on the technology after Musk open-sourced his idea, successfully completed its first full-scale test in what the company described as its “Kitty Hawk moment.”
Hyperloop One only tested at 70 miles per hour — a tenth of its 700 plus miles per hour target speed — but has plans to attempt another test at 250 miles per hour later this year.
The Boring Company was founded by Musk in late 2016 after complaining about Los Angeles’ traffic in a tweet. In April, the company released a concept video showcasing automobiles submerging underground via elevators and being transported in high-speed containers on rail lines.
The hyperloop is a similar, but different concept utilizing aerodynamic pods resembling a train car instead of personal vehicles. “Fast to dig, low cost tunnels would also make Hyperloop adoption viable and enable rapid transit across densely populated regions,” according to The Boring Company’s website.