Hyperloop projects could be eligible for federal funding in the United States. Hence, an American Hyperloop could be one step closer to reality.
Pathways to the Future of Transportation, a set of guidelines for new transport technologies, places Hyperloop under the Federal Railroad Administration. Consequently, Hyperloop could be eligible for US Department of Transportation (USDOT) grants, Government Technology speculates.
The USDOT funds and regulates major transportation projects in the United States including high-speed rail, highways, and mass transit. The Federal Railroad Administration is in charge of rail research and development in the United States.
No the USDOT did not Approve Hyperloop
Theoretically, Pathways could make it easier for Hyperloop developers to get federal funds.
However, Congress will have to approve any federal funding. Therefore, all Pathways does is to create a bureaucratic path to seek federal Hyperloop funding.
Pathways has the support of US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, whose office issued the document. Conversely, the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology Council wrote Pathways. The idea behind Pathways is to create a regulatory framework for Hyperloop in America.
Hyperloop could have high-level support, because Chao is the wife of US Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). McConnell is the most powerful man in the United States Senate.
Congress will Determine Hyperloop’s Fate in America
Unfortunately, Pathways could be meaningless because America could have a new president and secretary of transportation in 2021.
As far as I know, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (D-Delaware) has taken no position on Hyperloop. Biden, however, is a strong backer of rail transport, and a regular rider of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor high-speed trains.
On the other hand, the current; President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida), has shown interest in Hyperloop but given it no active support. Moreover, the President’s position on Hyperloop could be meaningless if one party does not control both houses of the Congress.
Will Hyperloop be part of the Green New Deal?
To explain, in America Congress not the President writes the budget.
Therefore, Congress will decide to fund Hyperloop and determine the amount of the funding. In the current political climate, I cannot imagine either Democrats or Republicans giving the other party credit for a major project such as a Hyperloop.
However, the electric-powered Hyperloop could be an ideal component for Democrats’ $2 trillion Green New Deal. To explain, the Green New Deal is an enormous package of infrastructure spending designed to take America off fossil fuels. Biden has adopted the Green Deal as part of his agenda.
Thus America could have taken the first step to building a Hyperloop.