Is flooding a problem for a potential Hyperloop in Missouri?

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A state group continues to search for ways to speed up the building of a proposed Hyperloop route. Massive flooding has led to major roadblocks in Missouri’s transportation network this year – ruining several roads and closing some bridges. Andrew Smith, the vice chair of the group, says flooding should not be a big issue for an ultra-fast tube transportation network, like a Hyperloop.

“You’re talking about elevating it 10, 20, 30 feet. It’s not as if it’s just sitting a couple of feet above ground. It’s built on pylons. It’s not really affecting the watershed in a way that high-speed rail would or even a highway,” he says. “The other thing is, it’s enclosed. You are creating your own atmosphere inside this tube and it won’t be raining.”

He says a study completed by Kansas City engineering firm Black & Veatch takes into account the impact of various climate zones.

The Hyperloop could lug travelers from St. Louis to Kansas City in 28 minutes with a stop halfway in Columbia. A study says building a 240-mile Hyperloop track along I-70 from St. Louis to Kansas City would cost about $10 billion.

Smith says a Hyperloop track would largely be funded through private donations and federal funding.

“The cost to build the Hyperloop is about 40% less than high-speed rail, and it’s three times faster,” Smith says. “The operating costs of this system, because it’s so energy efficient, is about five cents per passenger mile – lower than any other existing form of transportation.”

So how much would a ticket price be for a trip from Kansas City to St. Louis? He says less than a tank of gas.

“We’re looking at a ticket price between $30 and $40,” says Smith.

The group, chosen by Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, plans to have its recommendations ready in September.

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