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Hyperloop 2

The proposed hyperloop route in Missouri connects Kansas City and St. Louis via Columbia along the I-70 corridor. (Map courtesy of Virgin Hyperloop One.)

Regarding “Officials pitch Missouri for high-speed Hyperloop test track” (Oct. 29): Providing a home for a national test track and research center for such a system could be a real economic boon for Missouri, much as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s research center in Pueblo, Colorado, has been.

However, we should completely discount the idea that such a system between St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City would eliminate the need to completely reconstruct Interstate 70 across the state. That highway is crumbling beneath our tires right now, and it will get far worse in the 10 or more years it will take to construct any Hyperloop system.

Nor would a Hyperloop do much to reduce the traffic volumes. The great majority of the traffic is actually going to destinations other than just those three cities. Further, on many segments, heavy trucks make up nearly 50% of the traffic volume, and none of that freight traffic would be diverted to the Hyperloop. And those same heavy trucks account for about 90% of the wear on the pavement. So neither reconstruction costs nor future maintenance costs would be avoided.

There may be sound economic reasons for us to pursue a Hyperloop test facility, but we should look very closely at travel projections made by entrepreneurs and salesmen before we spend transportation money desperately needed for today’s problems.

Joe Leindecker • St. Louis