A study will be conducted to determine the feasibility of building a hyperloop on the Interstate 70 corridor through a public-private partnership.
The Missouri Department of Transportation, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the KC Tech Council, the University of Missouri System and the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia announced plans Tuesday to secure $1.5 million to conduct the study.
If built, a hyperloop route could transport passengers at up to 671 mph and ferry riders between Kansas City and St. Louis in 25 minutes.
Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One proposes to send passengers flying through tubular tracks in airless aerodynamic pods levitated, accelerated and decelerated by electromagnets.
The company said in April a 240-mile route from Kansas City to St. Louis was among 11 U.S. routes the company considered building. In August, Hyperloop One said the route across Missouri did not make its list of 10 finalists for routes around the world it may build.
Still, public and private business leaders want the company to take another look at the state. Ryan Weber, president of the KC Tech Council, said a hyperloop would provide clear economic benefits.
"Linking Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis in this way would strengthen collaboration across the entire state of Missouri and make us one of the most attractive destinations in the country for new businesses as well as businesses looking to relocate," Weber said in a news release.
Hyperloop One officials were impressed with Missouri's proposal, according to Andrew Smith, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for the St. Louis Regional Chamber.
"Our proposed route connects two major metropolitan areas in the same state along with a major research university, and we have the most favorable regulatory and cost environment of any proposed build site," Smith said. "Hyperloop One is encouraging us to take the next step with an engineering feasibility study."
Dr. Mun Choi, president of the University of Missouri System said the university is excited to be a partner in the effort to build a hyperloop.
"The hyperloop will represent a paradigm shift in our ability to travel and conduct business throughout Missouri," Choi said.
MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna estimated a feasibility study would cost $1 million to $1.5 million. He said MoDOT will oversee the study and offer technical expertise. Given the state's tight budget constraints, he said most of the money for the study will come from the private-sector.
A crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $100,000 kicked off Tuesday afternoon on Go Fund Me to raise funds for the study.
A news release issued by the St. Louis Regional Chamber said a trip between Kansas City and Columbia would take 12.9 minutes. Trips from Columbia to St. Louis would take 12 minutes.
In September, Hyperloop One named 10 finalist routes in its Hyperloop One Global Challenge to find the strongest new hyperloop routes in the world. U.S. routes between Chicago and Pittsburgh along with Cheyenne, Wyoming-Denver and Dallas-Houston routes made the final 10.
The company said at the time another 11 finalists that didn't make the top 10 will continue to work with Hyperloop One to develop their proposals.