St. Louis a finalist for ambitious Hyperloop One route

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – There might be some hype for the Hyperloop in the heartland.

Missouri is one of 11 routes in the United States selected as part of the Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge. If constructed, the possibility exists of you climbing into a pod and traveling from St. Louis to Kansas City in under 30 minutes.

Tom Blair, the leader of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Road to Tomorrow effort, said he’s seeking innovations in transportation; in this case, looking at a fifth form of transport.

“This is a new mode of transportation, traveling up to speeds of 750 miles an hour,” Blair said. “How they do that is through linear electric motors and maglev train-type system—if you will—all inside that low-pressure air tube.”

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One announced 35 finalists out of more than 2,600 applicants. The proposed Gateway City-City of Fountains route would take just 23 minutes to complete.

“Great example of technology we can all relate to that uses some of these principles is a roller coaster,” said Rob Lloyd, CEO and Board Member for Hyperloop One. “…a roller coaster has very rapid propulsion. This is a magnitude larger than that.'

Lloyd predicted Hyperloop will be moving cargo by 2019 and transporting passengers by 2021.

MoDOT said Interstate 70 is in need of an upgrade since it was first constructed in the early 1960s. After Blair visited Hyperloop One’s California offices last year, his engineers worked up the application and ideas of using I-70 as the Hyperloop route.

“How big would the Hyperloop be above ground or below, and how would that business partnership work,” Blair said, describing the proposal. “We don’t envision that MoDOT is going to build Hyperloop, but at this time is that would be a pretty innovative public-private partnership.”