Saturday, July 29, 2017 by Jayson Veley
“Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 minutes,” Musk wrote on Twitter. In a follow up post, the Tesla CEO further explained his plans for this futuristic transportation system: “City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city.”
The Hyperloop is something that Musk has been publicly speaking about for quite some time now. Setting aside all of the specifics, what Musk envisions is an underground transportation system that is capable of getting people from point A to point B in an incredibly short amount of time. If what Musk says is correct, then the Hyperloop would be able to turn a four hour car ride from New York to Washington D.C. into a 29 minute trip. Such technology would no doubt revolutionize America’s transportation system and change the way we travel forever. But as incredible as something like the Hyperloop sounds, many people on social media were a bit confused by Musk’s announcement.
“Verbal? Not on the dotted line?” tweeted BBC reporter Dave Lee in response to the announcement. “Seems premature to announce… unless you’re drumming up support for the project?” Musk wrote back, “Support would be much appreciated!”
Eventually, Musk once again took to his Twitter account to address all of the confusion surrounding his claim that he received verbal permission to build the Hyperloop. “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly,” he wrote.
While a spokesman for the White House did confirm that the Trump Administration has had “promising conversations to date” with the Tesla CEO, others weren’t so receptive of Musk’s announcement.
“Who gave him permission to do that?” asked a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation. Mike Dunn, the Baltimore city spokesman, stated, “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.’”
Both a spokesperson for the state of Pennsylvania and a spokesman for the New York City mayor’s office also said that officials in their states have not spoken to Musk or anyone from his company. (Related: Elon Musk is a hypocrite for warning about the dangers of climate change while flying on his private jet.)
What most likely happened here was nothing more and nothing less than an attempt to generate support and excitement over Musk’s idea to build a Hyperloop transportation system that runs up and down the east coast. He probably did speak to a government official about the proposal, they probably liked the idea of it, and then Musk more than likely exaggerated what he had heard and turned it into “verbal government approval.” Instead of misleading his fans and followers, the Tesla CEO should have been upfront with the fact that, as he said in his follow up Tweet, there’s still a lot that must be done before he receives formal approval.
This isn’t the only time that Musk has made public comments that are, at best, questionable. In the past, Musk has stated that he wants to begin sending humans to Mars by the year 2024, just seven years from now. Of course it would be nice to be able to advance our space travel technology that quickly, but getting to Mars by the year 2024 just isn’t very likely. (Related: Elon Musk warns that the world population is accelerating toward collapse.)
Elon Musk is a man who has done incredible things with his life thus far, and he has millions of fans out there that are eagerly waiting to see what he comes up with next. At the very least, he owes his fans the truth about his projects, and should stay away from fabrications as a means of gaining more support.