Gov. Jim Justice (R-W.Va.) on Thursday announced plans for a new Virgin Hyperloop Certification Center in West Virginia spanning across 800 acres of land.
Virgin Hyperloop shared that work on the new development is expected to begin in 2021. According to a press release from Justice, the research facility will create “thousands of new jobs across construction, manufacturing, operations, and high-tech sectors.”
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University predicts that the venture will impact West Virginia’s economy by $48 million annually.
Virgin Hyperloop CEO Jay Walder said in the announcement, “West Virginia is well-positioned to provide a fully-integrated solution that advances the nationwide opportunity for hyperloop.”
Hyperloop transportation is a recently proposed form of passage that seek to cut cross-country land travel to a fraction of current times by moving people and goods through a vacuum at speeds over 600 mph. In the future, they hope this technology will allow travel between cities like Washington, D.C., and New York to be as short as 30 minutes.
Justice said in his announcement that he hopes this move will attract more investors to the state as well as help establish a network of universities across the country that can lend their knowledge and expertise to the project.
The idea for hyperloops was first proposed by Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskSpaceX awarded contract to build US military tracking satellites It’s time to reckon with space junk NASA’s Bridenstine: We really are going to the lunar south pole MORE as a faster, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly alternative to current transportation options available. It would achieve this by removing friction and air resistance from the equation.
Despite exciting claims from tech companies like Tesla and Virgin Hyperloop, the safety of this theoretical super-train has been called into question with many wondering if current regulations would be enough to ensure that passengers are protected. The cost of building the required infrastructure has also drawn scrutiny, with one mile of tubing costing about an estimated $10 million.
The question of who will foot the bill of this experimental, unproven tech has been brought up as tech companies like Tesla receive generous tax incentives.