ST. LOUIS – A state panel formed with the help of Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr released its findings Monday regarding Hyperloop technology. The panel recommends the state piece together a plan to build a 15-mile test track at a cost of approximately $300 million to $500 million.
Virgin Hyperloop One is the company Missouri leaders have been working with. Company leaders have said Missouri is a leading candidate for where a test track will be built first. Hyperloop technology involves electricity and magnets sending pods that could carry passengers or cargo at high rates of speed. The pods would travel inside a tube which eliminates issues such as bad weather or stopping at crossings. The estimated time to travel from St. Louis to Kansas City is approximately 30 minutes.
“We think construction could begin as early as a year from now,” said Speaker Haahr.
He and other Hyperloop supporters believe if Missouri would become the first state in the country to build a test track, there would be tremendous economic benefits for the state in the long run. Haahr said, “It’s cutting edge technology that essentially every state in the country and a lot of nations in the Middle East and India and Dubai are trying to get to first. That’s how important it is.”
Some visitors to the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis said the idea of getting across the state in just 30 minutes is appealing but they worry about the cost of the project. The panel estimates building a Hyperloop tube all the way across the state would cost $10.4 billion.
“I’m not sure spending money on high-speed tube travel is the most impactful investment we can make in our community,” said one St. Louis resident. “I guess it has potential.”