WV on the list for potential Virgin Hyperloop site – WV News

Posted: February 24, 2020 at 1:46 am

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CHARLESTON West Virginia is on the list of prospective sites for Virgin Hyperloop Ones Hyperloop Certification Center, according to a company representative.

While the company is still eying several states as potential homes for the research and development center, a team of West Virginia officials has been working to try to bring the revolutionary transportation technology to the Mountain State.

Kristen Hammer, business development manager for Virgin Hyperloop One, said the company is in the process of whittling down its list.

We are very conscious to make this a very thoughtful process in general, she said. We dont want to be like some other companies that may have made less friends and more enemies in their process, because realistically whoever we dont build the Certification Center with, we still like to talk about building commercial hyperloop routes with. Its a lot of relationship building for us.

The state that is ultimately chosen will be in line for training and employment opportunities, Hammer said.

Theres a lot of good things for the region and the community (we choose), she said.

This kind of becomes a hub of hyperloop technology, wherever we build it. A lot of places like West Virginia understand that is a really exciting thing for the state and the region, she said.

Leadership from Virgin Hyperloop One recently made a second trip to the Mountain State for a series of scheduled meetings with multiple groups of stakeholders.

Company officials met with representatives from West Virginia Universitys Vantage Ventures, representatives from the offices of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and officials from Marshall University.

Company officials also met with state officials, including leadership in the state Development Office, National Guard, Department of Environmental Protection, Tourism Office, Department of Revenue, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Community and Technical College System.

Gov. Jim Justice said he was excited to welcome Virgin Hyperloop Ones team back to West Virginia.

I directed members of my Cabinet to be on hand to answer any of their questions and to show them our West Virginia hospitality, Justice said. My entire administration is committed to helping Virgin Hyperloop One explore all that the Mountain State has to offer, and we hope and pray that West Virginia will become their next almost heaven home.

Hyperloop is an emerging mode of high-speed mode of transportation that involves moving people and goods in pods through a vacuum tube, using magnetic and electronic propulsion technology to reach travel speeds in excess of 600 miles per hour.

Its kind of the next evolution from high-speed rail, Hammer said.

The technology has zero direct-carbon emissions and is fully autonomous and enclosed, Hammer said.

The concept and technologies involved in hyperloop are still currently in early development and testing phases.

The Hyperloop Certification Center would work to establish regulatory standard to allow Virgin to continue its work perfecting the technology.

The concept that has become hyperloop dates back to the early 20th century.

In 1909, rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard proposed a vacuum train very similar in to the Hyperloop, and in 1972, the RAND Corporation conceived a supersonic underground railway called the Vactrain.

Tesla Inc. and SpaceX founder Elon Musk reintroduced the idea in 2013 with the publication of his Hyperloop Alpha white paper and Virgin Hyperloop One was founded a year later.

According to Jordan Damron, a communications official with Justices office, the governor has been interested in the Virgin Hyperloop One project since November, when company officials first visited the state.

During the November meeting Justice said landing the Hyperloop Certification Center could have enormous potential for the Mountain State.

We have really changed in this state from being the end of a bunch of bad jokes to where were now working to become a leader in innovation, Gov. Justice said. Think about it: you have Virgin Hyperloop One here in West Virginia today because they are interested in us. We could never thank you or appreciate you enough.

Justice was joined at the November meeting by top cabinet leaders from the State Department of Commerce, Department of Revenue, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia National Guard to meet with company leaders and get a feel for what it would take to locate the HCC facility in West Virginia.

Weve brought all the kings horses and the kings men to answer any of your questions and let you see just how committed we are to exploring this incredible opportunity, Justice said.

Since then, the governor has remained in contact with Virgin Hyperloop One leadership and even wrote a letter to CEO Jay Walder in December, Damron said.

In his letter, the governor told Hyperloop officials that he has directed all Cabinet secretaries and other state leaders to be completely accessible. He also pledged to personally work with the company to provide access to our local, state and federal leaders, Damron said. West Virginias federal delegation has also been assisting in clearing pathways for the company to have the bandwidth they need to operate as efficiently as possible.

Senior Staff Writer Charles Young can be reached at 304-626-1447 or cyoung@theet.com

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WV on the list for potential Virgin Hyperloop site - WV News

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February 24th, 2020 at 1:46 am