Cross-posted from its origin station at Voices on the Square
On Monday, entrepreneur Elon Musk launched on attack on the California HSR system in the guise of a pie in the sky alternative that he has dubbed the “Hyperloop”. Now, I got into this topic from the back end, since I waited for the technical people to download the PDF and chew into it before giving it a serious look, so when I first encountered the notion floated that this is just a car builder (well, an electric car builder) attacking a rival form of transport, I thought that might involve some shaky inference regarding motive for otherwise puzzling statements …
… but then I read the first paragraph of the blog post where he introduced the proposal, and there really isn’t any doubt:
When the California “high speed” rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world? Note, I am hedging my statement slightly by saying “one of”. The head of the California high speed rail project called me to complain that it wasn’t the very slowest bullet train nor the very most expensive per mile.
So this is explicitly a proposal from the guy who made big bucks on an internet payment system, Paypal, showing how the California HSR is old, outdated technology and if he wasn’t busy doing other things, why, he could give us an intercity transport system that would knock our socks off.