Elon Musk: 29-minute NYC-to-DC hyperloop gets approval

Billionaire innovator Elon Musk claimed Thursday that he had received “verbal” government approval to build a futuristic underground rail system that would take riders from New York to Washington, D.C. in less than half an hour.

In a series of mysterious tweets that would not be taken seriously if it were practically any other corporate executive, Musk befuddled the transportation industry with claims that his latest venture is pursuing an ultra-high-speed rail network in the Northeast.

“Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop,” Musk said.

He added that the system would ferry passengers from “city center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city.”

It was not immediately clear what Musk meant by “verbal” government approval, which carries little weight in a world in which tunneling can require navigating a byzantine thicket of regulations. Tunneling from New York to Washington would require a gargantuan political feat, not to mention a prodigious amount of money.

A U.S. Transportation Department spokesperson was not immediately available to comment. A spokesperson for passenger rail company Amtrak, which controls much of the current rail corridor from New York to Washington, did not have immediate comment.

A representative of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority pledged to look into whether the agency had had contact with Musk or The Boring Co.

A spokesman for The Boring Co. did not immediately respond to a request for details.

Musk has had conversations with President Trump about business policies, though there was no immediate indication Thursday that they had discussed tunnel infrastructure.

Musk’s bold statements come a few months after he formed a venture called The Boring Co. to manufacture faster and more efficient tunnel-boring machines.

Having lost his patience with legendary California traffic, Musk recently pledged to build a short tunnel from his office to the Los Angeles airport before building a network of tunnels throughout the city. He has described a network of underground tunnels ferrying self-driving cars at high speeds as a solution to urban congestion.

But a hyperloop from New York to Washington would pair his dualĀ ambitions for faster tunneling with hopes of a rail system that travels several hundred miles an hour.

After New York-to-Washington, Musk said he would probably proceed with a hyperloop from Los Angeles to San Francisco and one in Texas.

Nathan Bomey

Contributing: Marco Della Cava