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Hyperloop Speedbump

Maryland's State Highway Administration may not have authority to grant construction permit

January 17, 2018
Boring Company wants to build high-speed Hyperloop system beneath the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Last October, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) granted Elon Musk a conditional utility permit that would allow Musk's Boring Company to begin work on Musk's proposed high-speed Hyperloop system beneath the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

But, according to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland's Assistant Attorney General David Stamper said the SHA utility permit doesn't grant the Boring Company permission to burrow under state-owned property. Stamper said in a letter to Senator Ed DeGrance that because the Hyperloop moves people, not commodity items such as power, water or gas, the SHA can't authorize construction of 'transportation tunnels' within the B-W Parkway.

The National Park Service owns the B-W Parkway and is working on how the Hyperloop project can be authorized.

Maryland's Department of Transportation spokesperson Erin Henson said, “We respectfully disagree with the advice provided by the Assistant Attorney General for the General Assembly, which was given without consulting with the Maryland Department of Transportation. Instead of 10 pages, we could have clarified in one that MDOT does have the right and responsibility to permit construction under state highway right of way, including the conditional permit issued to The Boring Company to build a concrete shell under the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. As stated months ago, the Federal Railroad Administration would provide the appropriate federal approvals for Hyperloop. Maryland should be proud to be the home for leading technology that can add one more tool to fight congestion that plagues Marylanders every day.”

Other concerns such as who should regulate safety on the Hyperloop system, as well as how to classify the system itself - is it a railroad, tunnel, hybrid rapid transit- are being discussed. Read the Baltimore Sun's full story here:

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