A futuristic tube-like system that could take passengers from Kansas City to St. Louis in 31 minutes might not be that far into the future. A company called Hyperloop One is developing the innovative subway-esque pod system that could transport cargo and commuters as fast as 750 miles per hour.
MODOT engineer Tom Blair tells Missourinet several Missouri groups are trying to raise about $1.5 million to learn if it makes financial sense to have the mode of transportation along I-70.
“That lineal electric motor sort of launches you, if you will. You or the freight are inside of a pod, whatever size that pod is. It’s key that this is not a train,” says Blair. “That pod is traveling on a magnetic levitation rail system. It lowers the friction versus traditional rail where you have the big trains screeching along the rail lines that create a lot of friction, consume a lot of energy and make it a lot harder and is more costly to move those trains.”
The study could include ridership forecasts and determining how much state money would be required to fund the private operation that Blair says would not increase taxes.
The technology could revolutionize Missouri’s aging transportation network and create less wear and tear on vehicles and the state’s roadways.
“The actual travel time is less than a traditional vehicle, plane or train. Maybe if there’s no stops along the way, it might even entice you to get into it and say ‘Wow, I just got from St. Louis to Kansas City in 31 minutes,’” says Blair.
The fuel tax, which helps to finance the replacement and upkeep of Missouri’s roads and bridges, has not been increased in more than 20 years.