Elon Musk unveiled his Hyperloop designs last year without any real plans to follow through on the vision. Now a California company developing its own futuristic transport technology is campaigning to get a proposition initiative on the state ballot in order to start making a Hyperloop-like design a reality.
According to E&E News, the “Transportation Innovation Initiative” proposes for the state to find a location where companies could launch pilot projects for “high-speed and/or high-efficient transportation technologies…including, but not limited to, hyper-loop, evacuated tube technology, and local area personal rapid transit technology.” (It also proposes to defund California’s current high-speed rail, an over-budget, over-deadline multi-billion dollar project that is rapidly losing popular support.)
The measure was filed for state approval in early January by Nicholas Garzilli, COO of Evacuated Tube Transport Technology, a firm developing a system that combines maglev trains with a vacuum-sealed tube to theoretically travel up to 4,000 miles an hour. To get on the November ballot, though, hundreds of thousands of signatures would be needed by June. E&E News writes:
Garzilli said he’s spoken with companies that have said it would cost about $3 million to gather signatures, and then, depending on how much opposition is involved, $10 million to $15 million for a campaign. He plans to meet with investors that want ET3 and tell them a ballot measure “makes it possible.”
The ballot proposition claims that “Hyper-loop and evacuated tube technology” would be faster, cheaper, more flexible, and more energy efficient than the current “old transportation technology” of the high-speed rail project. It also makes economic arguments:
As the technology capital of the world, California should be leading the development of energy efficient, high-speed transportation systems. Yet, California has no regulatory framework to allow for private investment and development of these innovative transportation technologies.
The billions the government plans to spend on old technology is creating economic disincentive for competition and innovation
If the wording of the measure is approved, we’ll see if this proposition has any chance of success in gathering signatures and funding. Judging by Garzilli’s unsuccessful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that ended on January 7th, I’m not going to hold my breath.