By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A state senator representing northwest Missouri will be part of a panel reviewing whether a “hyperloop” between Kansas City and St. Louis is feasible.
Senator Tony Luetkemeyer of Parkville has been appointed to serve on the Blue Ribbon Panel on Hyperloop.
“This is new, cutting-edge technology,” Luetkemeyer tells St. Joseph Post. “Missouri, if we were to get the project, would be the first state in the country to have this type of technology deployed. And so, I’m excited to get to explore the issue further and to be part of that process.”
The so-called hyperloop is a different type of transportation. Passengers would ride in pods enclosed in a tube levitating along a magnetically-charged rail at amazing speeds along I-70, perhaps as fast as 700 miles an hour.
The company Virgin Hyperloop One is testing the technology in Nevada.
Missouri is being considered, because I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis is relatively flat and the I-70 corridor has enough right of way access to build the hyperloop.
Several questions must be answered before Luetkemeyer gives his endorsement, with the state senator stating safety is his top concern, closely followed by security. He says a hyperloop would immediately become a prime target for terrorists.
Also, Luetkemeyer wants to explore the economic feasibility of the proposal by Virgin Hyperloop One.
“What is it that they are wanting in order to come to Missouri?” Luetkemeyer asks. “Will there be a sufficient economic benefit to the state to justify any types of incentive programs that they might need in order to pick Missouri?”
Luetkemeyer cautions against dismissing the concept as science fiction.
“You think back in the mid-1960s, we were sending a man to the moon,” Luetkemeyer points out. “The notion that we went from where we were technologically to having a man on the moon in a relatively short period of time, that seemed very fanciful and something that was out of fantasy, but we obviously made that a reality.”