Elon Musk says he just got ‘verbal government approval’ to build a Hyperloop between New York and DC

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A photo of The Boring Company’s tunneling machine.
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Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk said his latest venture, The Boring Company, just got “verbal government approval” to build a Hyperloop connecting New York City with Washington DC.

Musk didn’t clarify who exactly gave the company verbal approval and whether or not it came from different state representatives. But he said the company will build an underground tunnel that will connect the two major cities.

The Hyperloop could shuttle people between New York and Washington DC in 29 minutes, Musk said. It would make stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

New York and Philadelphia city representatives said Musk has not made any contact with officials about the Hyperloop Project.

The Department of Transportation referred Business Insider to a White House spokesperson, who sent the following statement:

“We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects, and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector.”

Musk visited the White House on three separate occassions this year when he sat on President Donald Trump’s economic advisory board and Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. He left both advisory councils after the US withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement in June.

It’s no secret that Musk has been in talks with different city representatives about his tunnel-boring ambitions, but this is the first time he’s mentioned an East Coast project.

Musk said in late June that he has had “promising conversations” with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti about building a tunnel between Los Angeles International Airport and Union Station, a main transit hub that connects Los Angeles to distant suburbs. Garcetti said he was considering using Musk’s tunnel to support a high-speed rail connection.

The Boring Company will work on the Los Angeles tunnel and East Coast tunnel at the same time, Musk said Thursday.

Musk has also been in “preliminary” talks with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about digging a tunnel that would connect downtown Chicago with O’Hare International Airport, CNBC reported.

The Boring Company

Musk said on Twitter in December that he wanted to build a tunnel boring machine because LA traffic was driving him “nuts.”

A few months later, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO launched The Boring Company. The venture is being led by SpaceX engineer Steve Davis.

Musk has traditionally said the tunnel will be used to transport people and cars via an electric skate. Although the tunnel in Los Angeles would support a high-speed rail, Musk’s Thursday announcement marks the first time the company has teased digging a tunnel to support a Hyperloop.

Musk first outlined his plan for a Hyperloop in a 2013 “white paper,” but hasn’t seriously pursued the high-speed transportation system.

Tunnel-boring is a notoriously expensive process, but the company is looking to cut down costs by building a machine that can dig and place reinforcements in the wall at the same time, Musk said during an April TED Talk. Tunneling machines traditionally dig for half the time and then go back to add reinforcements, a longer and costlier process.

The Boring Company has already completed its first tunnel segment in Los Angeles on SpaceX’s property. For any of Musk’s plans to be fully realized, he will need to secure permits through city and state representatives.

This article was updated Thursday afternoon to include comments from New York, Philadelphia, and White House representatives.