Did you catch the release of billionaire Elon Musk’s plan for high speed transit in the corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles? Here’s how an article in Wired described it:
Load yourself into an enormous shotgun shell and shoot yourself 400 miles (640 km) across the state at 800 mph (1300 kph). It sounds crazy, but Musk swears it will work. And if he doesn’t build it, someone else will.
Musk’s proposal to revolutionize mass transit is called the Hyperloop. It would transport passengers in individual aluminum pods powered by turbines and solar energy in above-ground tubes, cost $6-10 billion (£3.9-6.5 billion) to build, and make the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 35 minutes. Oh, and a ticket will run you around $20 (£13).
Musk’s white paper describing the technology can be found here.
Gizmodo also provided a pretty good summary.
What caught my eye was the potential price, which Musk projected would run between $6 billion and $10 billion. At the low end of the range, that would be only slightly more expensive than Honolulu’s planned rail system, which is now expected to cost something over $5 billion. For that price, Honolulu is going to get 20 miles of rail. Musk’s proposal would begin with a 520 mile system linking Northern and Southern California.
Of course, this is currently just engineering speculation, but it still provides quite an interesting perspective on the projected cost of Honolulu’s rail, with a design dating back in many key respects to the rail proposed during early years of Mayor Frank Fasi’s reign at city hall.
Meanwhile, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments Thursday in the the lawsuit challenging the rail project, Honolulutraffic.com v. FTA.
According to the 9th Circuit website:
Thu. August 15, 2:00 p.m.
Courtroom 1, 3rd Floor
Before: SCHROEDER, REINHARDT, HURWITZ, CJJ
According to the courts website, an audio recording of the session should be posted and available for listening by noon on Friday.
Attorney Robert Thomas, who writes the Inverse Condemnation blog, will be at the 9th Circuit for the oral arguments, and I would recommend checking his blog late tomorrow afternoon or early evening for an analysis.
In the meantime, here’s a preview.