29 Minutes From New York to Washington? Elon Musk Teases a New Hyperloop
By CHRISTINE HAUSER
Jul 20 2017
With a tweet and very little else by way of detail, the entrepreneur Elon Musk on Thursday raised the prospect of speedy, hassle-free travel along the busy section of the Eastern Seaboard between New York and Washington, D.C.
On Twitter, Mr. Musk said he had been given “verbal” government “approval” for his vision, in which one of his companies, the Boring Company, would build an underground transportation system connecting New York City to Philadelphia to Baltimore and on to the nation’s capital — enabling people to make the trip in the unheard-of time of 29 minutes.
It takes New Yorkers longer than that just to travel from one end of Manhattan to the other by subway.
Mr. Musk’s tweet was enticing enough, even without details, that it prompted a bombardment of follow-up questions and a great deal of skepticism. Who would pay for it? How long would it take to build? How would it be built? There were no answers.
Nor was there any indication of just who in the government had given the plan the “verbal” green light. The Department of Transportation referred a query about the project to the White House, which said in an emailed reply through a spokesman: “We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector.”
In his replies, Mr. Musk let slip a few more thoughts.
“City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city,” he wrote.
Mr. Musk’s planned 29-minute trip is considerably shorter than the current options. A drive from Washington to New York can take about five hours. Amtrak’s Acela, its high-speed counterpart to regional train service, cuts the time down to about two hours and 45 minutes. A nonstop flight from Kennedy Airport in New York to Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington is currently the fastest option, at one hour and 15 minutes.
Musk watchers have heard this before. Mr. Musk, a serial entrepreneur who was a founder of PayPal and the electric car company Tesla Motors, first unveiled his idea for a similar plan in 2013 when he unveiled a project called the Hyperloop — a high-speed system that would take people to San Francisco from Los Angeles in 30 minutes. That would take a speed of almost 800 miles an hour.