Missouri has re-emerged as a potential location for a Hyperloop track despite not earning a spot last month in a top 10 list of possible future routes for the mode of transportation.
Hyperloop technology comprises a tubular track through which a train-like pod carrying passengers or cargo travels at high speeds. Tech mogul Elon Musk of SpaceX initially proposed the Hyperloop, but several companies have since sprung up to further the technology.
Hyperloop One is a Los Angeles-based company working to commercialize Hyperloop transportation. The company's technology proposes using electric propulsion to thrust the transportation pods forward.
Hyperloop One and the Missouri Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that a public-private coalition has formed to reconsider a route in Missouri. The coalition aims to conduct a feasibility study of a route linking Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis along the Interstate 70 corridor.
Hyperloop One estimated a route from Kansas City to St. Louis would take 31 minutes to traverse. It would attain a speed of more than 670 mph, which the company said is about 90 mph slower than the speed of sound on a 50-degree-Fahrenheit day.
The feasibility study will cost as much as $1.5 million, said Patrick McKenna, director of the Transportation Department. He said the department will request funding from the private sector given state budget constraints.
"MoDOT will provide the oversight and technical expertise to manage the RFP (request for proposal) process for the study," McKenna said. "We are committed to bringing this innovative mode of transportation to Missouri."
The Hyperloop track was first proposed two years ago as part of a transportation department initiative to promote innovation along I-70.
"This public-private partnership demonstrates Missouri's commitment to building one of the first Hyperloop systems in the world," said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One. "We look forward to working with the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition in continuing to develop Missouri's Hyperloop One proposal from Kansas City to St. Louis."