As the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City submitted their formal request for proposal to earn designation as home base for Amazon’s HQ2, the state of Missouri put together its own proposal that bridges the two cities together – or narrows the space between to just 23 minutes.
Amazon is arguably the most innovative company in modern American history. Sure, it was cool when they invented the eReader, but that was nothing compared to what they’ve done over the past few years, including bringing the concept of 30-minute drone delivery to life and essentially destroying the entire brick-and-mortar retail industry.
To woo Amazon, you must think like Amazon, and that’s by no means an easy task.
Back in April, we learned Missouri was a finalist for the Hyperloop One Global Challenge, which brought in more than 2,600 RFPs seeking to earn the right to work with the Hyperlink One engineering team to develop a high-speed transportation project locally.
In September, 10 winners were announced and St. Louis failed to make the list.
Included in the state proposal for HQ2, however, Missouri is dangling a Hyperloop route connecting St. Louis and Kansas with a stop in Columbia on land along the I-70 corridor.
Hyperloop travel uses a linear electric motor to accelerate and decelerate an electromagnetically levitated pod through a low-pressure tube at speeds up to 670-mph, essentially making it possible to travel like an airplane on the ground without all the gate-to-gate nonsense encountered at the airport.
The proposed route in Missouri would make it possible to travel from St. Louis to Kansas City in less than 30 minutes, allowing Amazon to pull together it’s talent base from both metropolitan areas.
Will Hyperloop Travel Work?
While hyperloop travel has significant backing, including an investment from Richard Branson and Virgin, the concept has yet to be proven at full-scale. Speed tests in the desert only go so far in determining if hyperloop travel is viable. To truly understand if Hyperloop works we need to build one and put the pedal to the metal.
Cost is another concern about the Hyperloop project. To update Amtrak’s Northeast corridor railroad to high-speed standards, the expected cost is $123 billion. What would an underground Hyperloop route parallel to that same railroad cost?
For commuting between St. Louis and Kansas City, the cost of taking hyperloop to work every day from O’Fallon to Kansas City or Lee’s Summit to St. Louis absolutely cannot exceed the cost of taking the train from the Chicago suburbs into the city. A $100 hyperloop ticket works for a quick trip for a Royals/Cardinals game, but doesn’t make sense for daily commuters.
Would We Like to See Hyperloop Travel Work?
Of course! We love technology that makes everyone’s lives easier. We think Hyperloop is easier said than done, and would love to see HQ2 in St. Louis, but this technology is better seen to be believed.