DC greenlights Elon Musk to dig for Hyperloop

The first green light has been given for a faster future on the East Coast.

According to the Washington Post, Washington D.C. has given approval for Elon Musk’s Boring Company to begin a project that could take people from D.C. to New York in just 30 minutes.

Not much has been revealed about the digging permit except that it will allow for some “preparatory” and “excavation work” at 53 New York Avenue in NoMa neighborhood in Northeast D.C., according to the Washington Post.

But it is enough to get people excited.

“It’s about time,” said D.C. resident Josh Thilmany.

“It makes me think I could pretty much live anywhere and work at my same office,” added fellow D.C. resident Jimmy White.

But there are already questions about accessibility and affordability.

“Because it’s a private venture, I worry about what accessibility looks like,” added Thilmany. “Is this akin to a public highway and a public road where anyone can use it? Or is this something you have to purchase access to like using an I-Pass?”

There are two options when it comes to actual travel – Loop and Hyperloop.

With Loop, a pod transporting between eight and 16 people will run on a “skate.” Electric engines propel it through tubes at speeds between 125 and 150 miles per hour.

With Hyperloop, vacuum pods will travel 600 miles per hour.

And it’s not just people, but cars too. A vehicle would pull up to a designated spot and automatically be transported underground and added to the track.

“This is not what I had imagined because I assumed it was going to be sort of like a train rather than a highway,” said White. “It’s incredible.”

Musk envisions a vast tunnel network transporting people faster and alleviating traffic congestion.

“That’s transformative,” said Thilmany. “That’s not even fixing a broken system. That’s inventing an entirely new one.”

The Boring Company has already filed an excavation permit to build a 6.5-mile “proof of process” tester track. They have also designed a concept map showing possible routes along the West Coast.

On the East Coast, the D.C. to New York Loop would have stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Musk says his company has already gotten approval from Maryland’s governor to tunnel under the state-owned part of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, a 10.1-mile stretch.

Many questions still remain about where the Boring Company could tunnel under D.C., making sure construction doesn’t disrupt surface life.

So what is the timeline for such a system? None has been set yet, but some experts think it could be the better part of a decade before we are clocking 30 minutes from D.C. to New York.