The Second Phase of Hyperloop Selection Process in North TexasMarch 8, 2020
The development of hyperloop system in North Texas has moved to the second phase. The project is run by Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) and its goal is to build a certification track. The location that has been proposed would be six-mile route which is located along State Highway 360, next to DFW Airport.
Last week there has been a vote among the Regional Transportation Council which is a policy-making body consisting of area’s local governments’ representatives. The aim of this vote was to approve a resolution which would move the proposal forward in the process. Although it got approved in the end, there were nine members of the council who did not show their support.
The third phase of the selection is scheduled to be discussed in late April
The most recent proposal for the hyperloop project offers between $190 million and $300 million in funding. It would include up to $100 million in air quality funds because of lack of emissions coming from hyperloop technology. There is also a request for $50 to 100 million in federal taxpayer funds. It is supposed to be the sum that won’t be allocated for California’s beleaguered high-speed rail efforts.
In the resolution there is also a letter to Elaine Chao who currently serves as Transportation Secretary. It contains a request for her to consider the project for $30 million in INFRA grant money. INFRA stands for the Infrastructure For Rebuilding America. The motivation for this move could be the fact that the grant can be given to public-private partnerships in order for them to be able to pursue their innovative strategies.
However, there is one matter that can be quite concerning. It is the fact that NCTCOG (North Central Texas Council of Governments) could not provide any study or report that would prove economic benefits to North Texas that would be a result of having the certificate track facility built there.
The nine votes that opposed the resolution were motivated by the local government officials being worried that there might be a problem with just one city having all the benefits from the hyperloop certification track. Especially in case of Alington which currently is not a member of a regional transit authority. To tackle this problem one of the councilmembers suggested adding a provision to the resolution. It would prevent that sort of situations from happening.
The discussion was ended by Director Morris who asked the council to pass a generic motion welcoming VHO to the region. A motion to that effect passed unanimously.