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Hyperloop construction allowed to start in Maryland

An undated photo of a boring machine, called Godot. (The Boring Co. photo)

An undated photo of a boring machine, called Godot. (The Boring Co. photo)

Maryland has granted permits for entrepreneur Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. to start the boring process to build a proposed hyperloop project.

The company plans to start tunneling northeast of the interchange at Route 175 and the B-W Parkway in Hanover, state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn said Thursday. The Boring Co. has purchased private property to assemble its electric boring machine and to tunnel north toward Baltimore.

“This thing is real. It’s exciting to see a truly — I think probably the word transformative might be overused — but this is a technology that leapfrogs any technology that is out there today, and it’s going to be here,” Rahn said.

The Boring Co. declined to comment on this story.

Hyperloop uses evacuated tubes to move passenger “pods” in tunnels at more than 700 miles per hour and has the potential to connect Washington and New York in 29 minutes. In July, Musk tweeted that he had verbal permission from the federal government to start building the hyperloop along the East Coast.

The state owns I-295 right of way from Route 175 to the city limits of Baltimore. After working with the boring company for several months, the state granted permits to begin work and to allow access to the state owned property. The Boring Co. was permitted and granted access to the state owned land under I-295, Rahn said, just like any other utility company.

The project will be entirely privately funded and the only request made of the state, Rahn said, has been for permission to use the right of way under state highways between Washington and Baltimore.

The project calls for two tunnels running roughly 35 miles that will require about 75 miles of tubing in total. Access to the state property between Anne Arundel County and Baltimore provides the company access to more than 15 miles of land. Additional approvals will be needed from Baltimore, Washington and the National Park Service, which all control rights of way in the proposed path.

Rahn said he was excited about the project not only because of the ability to revolutionize transportation in the area, but because there’s a historical significance to breaking ground on this project in the Baltimore area.

“When you think about it Baltimore was ground zero for the B&O railroad, the first railroad in the country, and obviously changed the nature of our economy and the country over the next 100 years. I believe that hyperloop is on the same plateau as that in what it can do,” Rahn said.

Rahn, Gov. Larry Hogan and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh toured the site with Steve Davis, of director of advanced projects for Spacex, Musk’s company privatizing space flight, on Thursday morning. Hogan posted a video from the site touting that the technology is coming to the state.

“I think (hyperloop) is coming to Maryland and it’s going to go from Baltimore to Washington,” Hogan said in a video posted to his Twitter account on Thursday morning.

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