But when it comes to large-scale infrastructure projects, "verbal approval of the government" and "government approval" are very different things. Now, Musk and The Boring Company are working through the boring part: the long and tedious process of creating a reduced version of their vision, called the loop. On Thursday, nearly two years after Musk's tweet, the company took a small but necessary step in making the loop a reality: it released a sprawling 505-page report. environmental assessment project. The report, published jointly with an alphabetical list of federal, state and regional agencies, is required by environmental laws.
The report outlines, often meticulously, what Musk and his company envision for their East Coast transit system. Once completed, the privately funded Loop would transport passengers between downtown Baltimore and Washington in twinned tunnels 35 miles (35 miles) between 30 and 90 feet deep. "Stand-alone electric vehicles", or autonomous electric vehicle batteries, allowed passengers to pull at a maximum speed of 150 mph, and to complete the journey in about 15 minutes. Seventy ventilation shafts, installed in indistinct brown huts built on the surface of the road, would help passengers breathe and serve as emergency exits. The rates would be "comparable to public transport," writes the company.
At one point, writes the company in its assessment, the Baltimore-Washington segment could be connected to a larger segment, carrying runners to New York at speeds of up to 700 km / h, almost the speed of sound in a vacuum tube hyperloop. When that's what everyone guesses: "The
The potential future use of hyperloop technology is currently unknown, "writes the company.In the immediate future, the system could only carry 2,000 passengers a day, less than two full subway trains in New York.
The company says the project is needed because the wider Washington area is plagued by terrible traffic. But the company notes that the Loop should face competition from many other transportation options: highways, including I-95; intercity buses; Maryland Rail Commuter Services, or MARC trains, which transport runners between DC and Baltimore in just over an hour; and Amtrak. (The nationalized rail service is as part of a $ 2.45 billion redesign its popular Acela Northeast Corridor service, which would shorten the 35-minute commute and allow Amtrak to service Boston-DC more frequently.)
In the evaluation project, The Boring Company promises a rapid construction process. According to the report, 8 to 16 tunnel boring machines could be processed in 15 to 23 months, depending on the company's ability to improve its tunnel drilling technology. (Compare that to the eight years it took New York to build a subway extension of less than three kilometers.)
Before being able to use a tunnel boring machine in the ground, however, the project will require many government approvals, including from the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Columbia Department of Transportation, the Federal Department of Transportation, from the city of Baltimore, the National Parks Service, the Corps of Army Engineers and potentially Maryland lawmakers. It should pass with the regional authorities of water and the environment. (The assessment includes a long interlude on the effects of the project on local dragonfly species.) It may require a set of regulations specifically designed for its new technology, approved by the Federal Railroad Administration. And it would be subject to a handful of periods of public comment – the first of which began Thursday with the posting of the evaluation project. (Go for it! Submit your public comments here!)
The technology of the drilling company has not yet been fully demonstrated and the company is still striving to speed up the boring technological tunnel and reduce the costs of tunnel digging. (Tunneling experts are skeptical.) In December, Musc showed a prototype of 1.1 mile of the Loop system in a SpaceX car park in Hawthorne, California – a prototype that has not been finished. Proponents of the company, reporters and government officials have proposed mounting on a Tesla Model X mounted during the tunnel test. especially bumpy; the vehicle has only reached 50 mph. (Unprinted transport officials from Virginia would have called the system "a car in a very small tunnel.")
"The bumps will not be there on the road," Musk said The Los Angeles Times in December. "It will be as smooth as glass, this is just a prototype, which is why it's just a little rough around the edges."
The other projects of the Boring Company have been immersed in politics and bureaucracy. The society abandoned a proposed loop project in the west of Los Angeles after a court challenge from a local neighborhood association. His high speed airport connector in Chicago, eleven defended by the outgoing major Rahm Emanuel, faces an uncertain future after the city was elected to a new mayor who did not hesitate to oppose his opposition to the project. Two other projects, a small system in the Las Vegas convention center and another Loop proposed at Los Angeles Dodger Stadium– Are also going through local approval processes.
Elon Musk and Co. seems to have a powerful institution in its corner. On Wednesday, the federal Department of Transportation touted the release of the environmental assessment project in a news release. And it's the publication with the launch of another animal project, its new "Council for Non-Traditional and Emerging Transport Technologies", which the DOT describes as a "deliberative body charged by the Secretary of State". identify the jurisdictional and regulatory gaps arising from DOT's review of its new technologies. " transport technologies. "A complete loop linking DC to Baltimore may be a long way off, but at least Washington has an organization that wants to do it.
More great cable stories