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Elon Musk Is Digging a Hyperloop Tunnel in Maryland

Kirsten Korosec
Elon Musk Is Digging a Hyperloop Tunnel in Maryland

Elon Musk, billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has been given permission to use machines from his new startup The Boring Company to build a tunnel that could eventually connect Baltimore to New York via a futuristic high-speed transportation system known as Hyperloop.

While Musk said in a Twitter message Friday he wasn’t ready to talk about the Hyperloop project, he did acknowledge the news and thanked Maryland officials. Musk said a “proper announcement” would come in about a month.

Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has been touting the Hyperloop project on Twitter and Facebook.

“I think it’s coming to Maryland and it’s going to go from Baltimore to Washington, so uh, get ready,” Hogan said in a video clip posted on his official Twitter account. Hogan was touring a site in Hanover, Maryland that could become an entry point for the hyperloop, when the video was taken by a reporter who asked the governor about The Boring Company.

Maryland state officials issued a conditional utility permit to The Boring Company, reported the Baltimore Sun. The permit allows Musk’s company to dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

This section of the Hyperloop project would be just the first portion of an eventual line that travels between Washington, D.C., and New York.

Maryland’s potential hyperloop illustrates a shift in Musk’s initial business strategy.

Musk first proposed the hyperloop—a system of reduced-pressure tubes that would hurtle people and packages long distances at super speeds — in a nearly 60-page public white paper in 2013. Musk never took on the project, however, and instead unleashed it out into the wild and encouraged others to try. A number of hyperloop companies have since launched, including Hyperloop One, which just recently rebranded to Virgin Hyperloop One after partnering with billionaire Richard Branson and his Virgin Group.

Musk stayed involved as a promoter of hyperloop technology, notably through his other company SpaceX, which has sponsored hyperloop competitions. But Musk hadn’t expressed interest publicly to build hyperloop on his own.

That changed after Musk founded The Boring Company. The startup, launched in early 2017, was inspired by the soul-crushing traffic congestion Musk experienced in Los Angeles. The Boring Company aims to find a way cost-effectively dig networks of tunnels for vehicles, like this Tesla Model S, and high-speed trains.

The Boring Company’s tunnel digging project in Maryland could