A National Certification Track for HyperloopJanuary 16, 2020
Missouri wants to be the first state to have a national certification track for hyperloop. That would be a great beginning before building a permanent route, as suggested in the Missouri Blue Ribbon Panel on Hyperloop (BRPH) Report prepared for Elijah Haahr, speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives. The panel is made of lawmakers, experts in the subject of transportation and technology and some private-sector leaders. The role of a chairman is governed by Mike Kehoe, the 48th Lieutenant Governor of the State of Missouri.
The panel was formed to investigate the possible advantages of building a hyperloop in Missouri and the ways to do it. It should also identify possible strategies for financing the whole operation. This report submitted by the Missouri Blue Ribbon Panel in October 2019 builds on a feasibility report done in 2018 by Black & Veatch, the largest engineering firm in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The study confirmed commercial Viability of Virgin Hyperloop One technology.
The report says that the new economic megaregion, created by building a hyperloop infrastructure between Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis along Interstate 70, would not only rank among the top 10 in the U.S. but also would significantly influence the University of Missouri as a leader in an attractive technical field that is emerging from this innovation. In addition to that, Missouri manufacturers and farmers would easily be able to put their products on external markets. There would also be a positive impact on some industry clusters, like Automotive, Transportation and Logistics, Chemical Products and others.
The estimated cost of this system ranges from $30 million to $40 million per mile, or approximately $7.3 to $10.4 billion total.
However, the first step that has to be taken is building a National Certification Track. It would become a centre for research and development that would be supported by both academic and industry partners from the University of Missouri. The track should have up to 15 miles. The study also suggests forming a public-private partnership in order to mitigate the risks to taxpayers.
It is also worth mentioning that The University of Missouri’s Columbia campus is the only university in the U.S. that was chosen to have a first-hand look at Virgin Hyperloop One’s newly developed test pod. Apart from that, the company’s business development manager, Kristen Hammer, gave a lecture on the fifth mode of transport.
A member of the Blue Ribbon Panel who is also a College of Engineering Dean, Elizabeth Loboa, noted some viable facts about Missouri and its history with innovations in transportation:
“Missouri awarded the nation’s first contract to build an Interstate Highway – what we now know as I-44. Missouri also played a key role in the early stages of the U.S. space program when St. Louis’s McDonnell Douglas Aircraft company built the Mercury space capsules for NASA. Project Mercury—the first U.S. manned space mission—began in 1958, just two years after we awarded the first interstate highway contract. And Missouri is poised once again to lead the nation in transportation.”