West Virginia U Chases Hyperloop Transportation Project

WVU wants to participate in the testing of high-speed vacuum tube transportation. Virgin Hyperloop said it was issuing a RFP to states, municipalities and universities to create a certification and testing center.

by Suzanne Elliott, The Dominion Post / November 22, 2019
Transportation Study

(TNS) — West Virginia and WVU are hoping to be looped and on the ground floor on the Virgin Hyperloop One project, a futuristic method of transportation that could one day move goods and people through a vacuum tube at a speed of more than 600 mph.

Virgin Hyperloop, based in Los Angeles, said earlier this month it was issuing a request for proposals to states, municipalities and universities to create a certification and testing center for the project.

Gov. Jim Justice is scheduled to be in Morgantown today at WVU’s Erickson Alumni Center to promote the state’s participation in the project. He is scheduled to be joined by Sarah Biller, executive director of Vantage Ventures, Javier Reyes, Dean of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Earl Scime, Interim Dean of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and Kristen Hammer, Business Development Manager of Virgin Hyperloop One.

In a Nov. 13 letter to Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group — the parent of Virgin Hyperloop One — Sen. Joe Manchin, a member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, said West Virginia has the ability to move the project to, “full operational capability more efficiently than anywhere else.”

“Our state has a track record of partnering with companies long after the initial investment to ensure that they not only grow but thrive,” Manchin letter said. “West Virginia has built a relationship with innovative countries like Japan and welcomed companies with a new vision for the future of transportation like Toyota and Hino Motors.”

Virgin Hyperloop said it expects the center to be funded through a combination of public and private sources. No project cost has been revealed as of yet, Reuters reported. Virgin would like to begin construction of the center by 2021 with both completion and regulatory approval by 2025. Virgin said it would like to launch the first Hyperloop routes by 2029.

“As the Senior Senator for West Virginia, I am committed to working with you to make that a reality,” Manchin’s letter said. “That’s why I would like to invite you and your leadership team to visit our state and see just how ready it is to partner with Virgin Hyperloop One. I can’t wait to show you just what my state can offer.”

The technology being developed by Virgin Hyperloop will have the ability — if it comes to fruition — to move people and goods, for example, from Pittsburgh to Chicago in 41 minutes or New York City to Washington, D.C. in 30 minutes.

Hyperloop will be on campus today and tomorrow as part of a two-day visit. The state of Georgia has also expressed an interest in the certification and testing center, Reuters reported.

©2019 The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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