When a guy has already made billions, launched rockets into space, and created a profitable electric-vehicle manufacturer, even the wackiest thing he has to say is likely to get a lot of attention. Today, CEO Elon Musk unveiled his plans for the Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system that could whisk passengers at up to 800 miles per hour at a cost Musk says is about 10% of California’s proposed high speed rail plan. While Musk admits he won’t be the one to build it — he’s too busy with Tesla and SpaceX — it seems likely his white paper is going to touch off a great deal of debate in California and elsewhere about the feasibility of the Hyperloop. California is set to break ground on its train imminently, but questions about funding and political uncertainty have given that project a murky future. Is the Hyperloop really an alternative?
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