An effort to bring a Hyperloop to Missouri has picked up some steam again. The Missouri House passed this week legislation that would add the ultrafast tube travel system to the list of projects that could be funded through public-private partnerships, like ports and light rail systems are.
Think of a Hyperloop like the cylinders you put your deposit in at the bank drive thru. The vacuum-like system whisks the container through a tube to a bank teller in a matter of seconds.
A Hyperloop is said to haul passengers in a much larger version of the vacuum-like system and go up to 640 mph. Hyperloop officials say travelers could get from St. Louis to Kansas City in about 30 minutes.
The end goal of some legislative supporters, including House Speaker Elijah Haahr of Springfield, is to build a roughly 250-mile track from St. Louis to Kansas City – a project that could cost about $10 billion. Elected leaders have said a Hyperloop is not an effort the state is going to pick up the tab on. Instead, it would need to be headed by a private firm.
Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, says both Kansas City and St. Louis have made the top 10 of Virgin Hyperloop’s list of places it’s looking to build a 15-mile test track. The track could help federal regulators decide whether the system can be certified and used commercially to carry passengers and cargo.
Fitzwater says his bill would also ban the government from taking private land to build a 15-mile test track in Missouri.
“I think it was important, but honestly I don’t think impacted the bill that much. That’s why we passed it with that piece on it to dissuade concerns from members of our caucus in particular that had a real issue with being consistent,” he says.
Some Democrats voiced concern that banning eminent domain would create roadblocks to getting a certification track built.
The measure, House Bill 1963, is headed to the Senate. Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, is expected to carry the bill.
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