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Maryland Gives Conditional Approval For Elon Musk To Begin Building Hyperloop

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan gave Tesla CEO Elon Musk conditional approval Thursday to begin constructing a giant underground tunnel connecting Baltimore to Washington, D.C.

Maryland’s Department of Transportation gave Musk permission to dig miles of tunnel under state roads for the privately funded project, Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer told reporters. He did not elaborate on what the conditions Musk must meet.

“It’s called a utility permit. That’s all they need to do the digging,” Mayer said. “It’s a private company, privately financed. The costs to the state will be extremely limited, if anything at all. The state has been working with them for multiple months on the permit process.”

Maryland is proud “to support The Boring Company to bring rapid electric transportation to MD – connecting Baltimore City to D.C.,” Hogan wrote in a tweet following the move. “So, get ready,” Hogan said in a follow-up video.

Maryland officials have not given any indication about future permission needed or whether the project will require environmental reviews. Mayer referred questions about project details to Musk’s Boring Company, the organization slated with building the Hyperloop. The Boring Company declined to answer any questions about cost or funding.

Musk, who sat on President Donald Trump’s business council earlier this year until it was liquidated, thanked the White House for its support for the project.

“The Boring Company would like to thank Maryland, Washington D.C., and the White House Office of American Innovation for their support,” the company said. Musk announced earlier this year that the Boring Company received approval from the White House earlier this year to build a Hyperloop for travel between Washington, D.C. and New York.

A White House spokeswoman did not respond to questions from reporters about what assistance the Office of American Innovation provided. The Boring Company, Hogan, and the state of Maryland have all remained quiet about the nature of the project.

Musk’s Hyperloop project “might be better described as all the problems of space travel while traveling in a gun barrel at the speed of sound,” Phil Mason, a former Cornell University chemist who makes educational videos about science, said in a YouTube video last year.

The planned Hyperloop would be a long series of six-foot high steel tubes that would shoot capsules carrying passengers at speeds up to 800 mph. Musk’s plans have inspired several different companies to pursue this technology.

“Any failure whatsoever will rip though that two-centimeter outer tube like candy. Now sure, anybody in the capsule would die pretty much instantly in the event of a crash…but a single breach in the Hyperloop would probably kill everybody else in the Hyperloop because air would rush into the tube at about the speed of sound,” Mason said.

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