Just how far behind transportation is in the USA? Japan’s Maglev. Yet, even with their incredible transportation infrastructure, the Japanese are in a spot of trouble because the maglev project in incredibly pricy (but still not as expensive as normal-slow rail projects in the USA!).
Despite this, they are actively courting American leaders to set up the technology on the east coast corridor lines.
In my head, I still feel that the hyperloop would be cheaper to build. The smaller hyperloop pods, the sustainable solar PV on top, the Tubes arching above ground with minimal disturbance the land. All of these factors are why the hyperloop is a cheaper option than a Maglev. Also, we wouldn’t have to license the technology from Japan. Or we could work with the Japanese to build the hyperloop.
After a short googling on maglev vs hyperloop there are a number of technical challenges that both contend with. A good read on the matter is this: http://evworld.com/blogs.cfm?authorid=173&blogid=1174
In deciding how to fund the construction of the hyperloop (and assuming that it can generate a profit after being built) we look to other models of economic growth, this time with Big Oil and Gas dollars. While Colorado has extensive Oil and Gas reserves, the country of Kazakhstan has much more. Colorado, with its currently slim majority pro-fracking population http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/earth_to_power/2013/11/more-than-half-of-colorado-voters.html will need to decide how revenue from the private companies can fed back into state taxes. “The Quinnipiac poll, which was primarily focused on next year’s Colorado gubernatorial election, also asked: “If a candidate for governor supports fracking, does that make you more likely to vote for that candidate, less likely, or doesn’t it make a difference?”” Anyway, beyond the short term politics, Kazakhstan is thinking ahead and so should we.
The article I read http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/business/international/kazakhstans-bet-on-rail.html?_r=0 gives a very interesting take that the government in Astana is basically funneling all the oil revenue into creating a rail road state owned mega industry.
“The rail business, Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, better known by its initials as K.T.Z., reached a deal this summer to build a $100 million freight and logistics center on the coast of China at Lianyungang port, roughly halfway between Beijing and Shanghai. The goal is to bring goods in and out of Central Asia through a combination of rail and sea freight, and help the region diversify its exports beyond an overwhelming dependence on Russia that has lasted for more than two decades after the demise of the Soviet Union.
The railroad has opened a second line from Kazakhstan to China that runs through a southern mountain pass that is less prone to the high winds and blizzards that bedevil a Soviet-era border crossing farther north built under the Soviet leaders Khrushchev and Brezhnev. The company is frenetically building new rail lines within Kazakhstan to distribute goods, too, and has more than quadrupled its annual investment in the last four years, to $3.1 billion this year.
Kazakhstan faces a difficult challenge in trying to spend its oil wealth in ways that will create prosperity beyond the city limits of the capital, Astana, and there is no guarantee that its emphasis on the rail industry will work.”
What if Colorado voters decided to funneled Oil/Gas taxes into a Colorado Hyperloop industry? The front range will be a key backbone of trade from Wyoming to New Mexico. I have no evidence, but I believe the investment in hyperloop technology will spur other industries and will have a larger return than even the Oil and Gas industries of Colorado.