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By Chris White
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk boasted Thursday that the Trump administration verbally approved his Hyper Loop, but the White House has yet to publicly confirm the Tesla CEO’s claim.
Musk announced on social media that his tunnel-boring company received approval to build a super-high-speed transportation system, or Hyperloop, for travel between Washington, D.C. and New York. But the White House stayed conspicuously mum on Musk’s claim.
“Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to the underground tunnel digging company Musk started earlier this year. The tunnel would theoretically run from city to city with about a dozen elevators along the route.
A White House spokesman said that the Trump administration has had positive conversations about the Hyperloop but did not weigh into Musk’s claim.
“We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects, and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector,” the official said.
Many of the government officials who need to be made aware of any kind of approval told reporters that Musk’s claim was a surprise.
“This is news to City Hall,” a spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. The Democrat would be one of the first officials to receive word of a tacit approval of the Hyper Loop.
Leif Dormsjo, director of the District’s Department of Transportation, said, “I’m completely unaware of any request to the District government to permit or review anything related to an Elon Musk project.”
Musk tempered his initial claims in later tweets. “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly,” he wrote.
He appeared to lobby his Twitter followers to pressure the White House and federal representatives on the project.
“If you want this to happen fast, please let your local & federal elected representatives know,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet. “Makes a big difference if they hear from you.”
Most tech analysts believe Musk is not one to post ideas on Twitter without first fleshing out the idea. Any thoughts he floats on Twitter should be taken seriously, they argue.
Musk, who co-chairs electric automaker Tesla and solar panel producer SolarCity, told reporters earlier this year that the ideal way to ease the country’s crowded infrastructure was to build miles and miles of tunnels.