July 20, 2017
Philadelphia is going to get a Hyperloop transit station, right after that SEPTA Broad Street Line extension makes its way to the Navy Yard.
In an astonishing but wholly characteristic tweet Thursday morning, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced he had received "verbal government approval" to construct an underground, supersonic transit system between New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Completing the whole line would take just 29 minutes, he claimed.
Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017
Excitement about the possibility of a game-changing transit revolution gripped the East Coast throughout the day, even as details about The Boring Company project remained scarce.
Not to throw cold water on the idea so quickly, but a Thursday afternoon report from Fortune quoted multiple city officials claiming to have no knowledge of Musk's plans.
"Elon Musk has had no contact with Philadelphia officials on this matter. We do not (know) what he means when he says he received 'verbal government approval,'" said Mike Dunn, spokesperson for the Kenney administration.
Contacted Thursday evening, Dunn told PhillyVoice "there are numerous hurdles for this unproven 'Hyperloop' technology before it can become reality."
Representatives from New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. all had similar things to say. New York City officials claimed everything they'd heard about the proposal was contained in Musk's tweet.
The entirety of what we know about this proposal is what's in Mr. Musk's Tweet. That is not how we evaluate projects of any scale. https://t.co/kcJR17SMCs— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) July 20, 2017
And if government approval came from the White House, a statement provided to The New York Times stopped well short of confirming the green light.
“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," the statement said.
The Boring Company, a tunneling and infrastructure company Musk launched last year, said only that "key government decision-makers" had given their support to the East Coast Hyperloop.
If you want, in your lifetime, to jump in a pod and zip across America at 750 mph, Musk suggested everybody reach out to their elected officials to speed up the process.
If you want this to happen fast, please let your local & federal elected representatives know. Makes a big difference if they hear from you.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017