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Colorado Springs still considered for hyperloop test track

November 14, 2017 Updated: November 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm
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(Courtesy of Loop Global/Facebook)

In the wake of news Tuesday that Denver will welcome a test track for a hyperloop-inspired project, a Fort Collins-based company said it's still considering Colorado Springs for high-speed tube transit.

Loop Global Inc., unveiled plans over the summer to build a 3-mile demonstration track that people could pay to ride.

Colorado Springs remains a candidate for the project, said CEO D Worthington, even after the Colorado Department of Transportation announced that it will let Los Angeles-based transportation innovater Arrivo build a test track near Denver International Airport.

Hyperloop transit uses bus-sized pods loaded with passengers or cargo, lifted via magnetic levitation and electrically propelled through a low-pressure tube at speeds topping 700 mph.

Since Tesla co-founder Elon Musk coined the concept in a 2013 paper, an entire industry has emerged, with companies offering various versions to test and commercialize the unproven technology.

Arrivo expects to invest $10 million to $15 million in the test track to be built by the end of next year. The line, less than a half- mile long, will run adjacent to the E-470 tollway and will not be open to the public, said CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford.

The company will explore the feasibility of a commercial system in the Denver metro area connecting the airport, downtown, Boulder and other areas.

The development marks CDOT's latest push to bring a high-speed transit network to Colorado. The agency will spend $200,000 on a feasibility study of such a system, Ford said.

In September, Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One said it would consider Colorado for its first system.

CDOT commissioned a proposal detailing a 360-mile network stretching from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Pueblo, with a westward excursion to Vail, estimated to cost $24 billion. Worthington said he plans to build his 3-mile track using about $25 million in private funds. Passengers could tour the system and take a ride at speeds up to 400 mph for about $100.

"We're not worried about competition," he said. "It does seem like Colorado is the place for transportation innovation, and we look forward to throwing our hat into that ring."

Loop Global, which is considering four other sites, will announce a location before the end of next year, Worthington said.

The ability to obtain right-of-way and the level of public support in each location will factor into the decision, he said.

Officials including U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and Mayor John Suthers, both Colorado Springs Republicans, backed the idea of a local test track in a July letter to the Hyperloop Advanced Research Partnership, a coalition of businesses and professionals exploring the technology's potential.

Worthington said he's continued to discuss the proposal with city officials and other groups that have expressed interest.

"There have been steps forward, and the conversations continue to move in a very productive manner," he said.

The company will release more details next year, he said.

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Contact Rachel Riley: 636-0108

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