Legislators in the state of Missouri voted on Tuesday this week to allow grants to fund potential builders of a hyperloop test track.
The voice vote in the State House of Representatives provided an initial approval to the bill. The bill seeks to allow public-private partnership grants to fund a 10 to 15 mile test track.
Proponents of hyperloop technology cite its ability to trim commutes dramatically. For example, a previously proposed plan creates a route linking the cities of St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City. Ordinarily, the drive takes about 4 hours. With a hyperloop, commuters reach their destination in about 30 minutes.
That’s because the hyperloop technology propels a pod full of passengers at speeds reaching up to 640 mph. For comparison, the popular commercial jet, Boeing 747, flies at speeds approaching only 57 mph. Though, the vessels resemble one another. Planes appear like metal tubes with wings. Hyperloop pods are long, cylindrical bodies that travel through a secured tube instead of the air. While eliminating greater mobility, the tube permits its operators to control the elements surrounding travel. Hence, the impressive speed.
Hyperloop Price Tag
However, its construction requires a great financial investment. Estimates put the price tag at around $25 to $27 million for each mile of the hyperloop. That also doesn’t include land acquisition costs. Proponents argue the savings in commuter traffic, the interconnection between the cities, and the attraction of other tech companies more than justifies the cost.
Representative Travis Fitzwater, the bill’s sponsor, said of its potential in Tuesday’s House session, “It would bring in investment dollars from around the world to make Missouri an innovative state.”
The bill still requires a second vote of approval before moving onto the state senate. Representatives also amended the bill to include a provision prohibiting the use of eminent domain.