North Texas has reached the second round of a competition to win the Hyperloop One certification center.
Hyperloop One has been tested on a short track near Las Vegas. The competition is for a 6-mile test track to certify the technology.
Hyperloop is intended to move goods and people at more than 600 mph on vehicles in a vacuum tube where there would be virtually no wind resistance.
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Hyperloop has been suggested as the technology for a line from Dallas to Laredo, but first it must be proven safe and reliable for U.S. operation.
“It’s going to be pipes and steel and cement and train cars, but it’s all technology-based.” Dallas City Council member Lee Kleinman said.
Transportation planners working on the North Texas bid see great potential for education and innovation if their Hyperloop One bid is successful.
“These are the best and the brightest bringing new technology,” said Michael Morris, transportation director with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the Regional Transportation Council.
Morris is leading the North Texas bid.
“We have some very innovative elements,” he said.
Instead of just offering space for a long track, Morris said North Texas has options that could remain in use if Hyperloop was certified.
“We’re looking at implementing it in the real world. Other areas may be looking at trying build a stand-alone certification center," he said. "So I’m brain storming on how our application can make us different than the rest."
The city of Dallas has offered two options that both use Dallas Executive Airport on Hampton Road at U.S. Highway 67 as a destination.
“Could Dallas turn their airport into more of a corporate capability, and move high-end price goods by aviation, circuit boards and whatever, just in time, deliver to wherever it has to go? And can you imagine the set of other bight people who are creating those goods and getting them expedited to those jets that are trying to go there?" Morris said.
The other end in one proposal is Hensley Field, the former Dallas Naval Air Station, where there is a large, available site for possible manufacturing or industrial uses.
“That could become a maintenance and storage facility and operational facility for Hyperloop -- that would be in the grand scheme of things -- that all of a sudden, not only do we have the test track, we have the facilities to operate all over North Texas,” Kleinman said.
The other Dallas suggestion for the certification test track is a Hyperloop connection between Dallas Executive Airport and the Inland Port area along Interstate 20 and Interstate 45, where there is a railroad hub for containers arriving from overseas and many warehouses.
“It can move freight, and it just happens to be about the right size to put a container in,” Kleinman said.
The deadline to submit Phase 2 options to Hyperloop is Feb. 28.
“We have eight different ideas. We’re in negotiations shopping each of those ideas with them. They’re coming here to see the corridors,” Morris said.
Morris and Kleinman were part of a North Texas delegation that visited the smaller Hyperloop One test track near Las Vegas.
There would be years of work ahead if North Texas is the certification center winner.