- Late last year, Washington, DC issued a permit to Elon Musk's Boring Company for preliminary work on a small patch of land that could end up as a Hyperloop station, according to The Washington Post.
- Will Dean posted a picture of the permit on Twitter last week, the Washington Business Journal reported. The project code is categorized as "top secret" and details about the kind of development allowed on the land are quite vague. The permit is valid through November this year.
- DC has been exploring the feasibility of a magnetic levitation (maglev) and/or Hyperloop system to Baltimore, which eventually would stretch to Philadelphia and New York.
Hype has picked up again in recent years about high-speed train service between Washington, DC and Baltimore. The Boring Company received a similar permit to start work in Baltimore about a month before the DC permit was issued. Elon Musk has also expressed interest in building Hyperloop transportation in Chicago and Los Angeles.
While the intention initially was to bring a maglev train to the Northeast corridor, Hyperloop has presented a comparable option. That concept uses maglev technology, but it also uses vacuum tubes to further reduce resistance and achieve higher speeds; it also would use pods for transportation instead of train cars.
DC's permit for The Boring Company is very vague and doesn't specifically list what type of excavation work will be taking place at the fenced parking lot in question. That potentially leaves a lot of room for exploration and experimentation. But it also is clearly an initial step that would require further permitting, considering the permit expires in November and not much actual excavation or construction could take place by then.
A Hyperloop along the East Coast is an exciting idea to many in the area, as it eventually could cut the four-and-a-half hour travel time from New York to DC to about half an hour. But this permit is just a baby step and it will take years for any real progress to come about. Plus, leaders might want to temper excitement and be cautious about putting all their eggs in The Boring Company's basket, as Musk has funded numerous other high-profile ventures that collapsed without coming to fruition.