An official with Hyperloop One, which proposes building ultra-fast tubular transportation around the world, said that a Missouri route is a top contender for development.
Dan Katz, the head of policy for the company, told The Associated Press that Missouri is among the top 5 contenders, if not in the top 3.
The acknowledgment comes less than a month after the Missouri Department of Transportation and other entities said it would conduct a feasibility study of a Hyperloop track that would link Kansas City and St. Louis. Hyperloop One said that distance could be covered in 31 minutes.
Hyperloop uses electric propulsion to jet pods through a tubular track at high speeds. It is still in the testing phases.
Missouri Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann told The AP that, despite Missouri not earning inclusion as an American top finalist last month, that he “expects the state to rise to the top of the list” if it completes the feasibility study.
The study will cost $1.5 million, and MoDOT said it will seek funding from the private sector.
Gov. Eric Greitens in Missouri has asked Amazon to consider locating its second headquarters in Kansas City and St. Louis, with a Hyperloop link between the cities.
The company claims it can attain a speed of 671 mph, which is about 90 mph slower than the speed of sound on a 50-degree day. (Temperature and other variables alter the speed of sound.)
Last week, Hyperloop One announced Virgin Group and founder Richard Branson were investing in the company. In the coming months, a Hyperloop One release stated, the company will be changing its name to Virgin Hyperloop One.
The release stated the company will focus on passenger and mixed-use cargo services.
“A partnership with Hyperloop One feels like a natural fit,” the release stated. “Virgin has been at the forefront of transportation innovation for more than 20 years. It has entered major markets, competed with giants and won. We can’t think of a better person than Richard or a better brand than Virgin to be our true partner in the continued quest to make our moonshot idea a reality.”