Ben Kirby: Florida must have a conversation about innovative transportation

 Earlier this month, Tesla Motors and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk introduced the Hyperloop to the world.

Using solar power to fuel magnetic bursts, a large, train-like tube will propel passengers faster than the speed of sound on a cushion of air from point to point.

Musk wants to build it in California. The Hyperloop would carry travelers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in an astounding 30 minutes. The trip now takes more than five and a half hours.

 Why wouldn’t he build it in Florida?

 The drive from St. Petersburg to Daytona Beach takes more than two and a half hours.  The need for sustainable, efficient mass transit in Florida is certainly as great as in California.

 The answer lies in what the Hyperloop truly represents: an impetus to start a community conversation about something innovative.

Musk says the inspiration for the Hyperloop, at least in part, was his frustration with the old mass-transit paradigm.  Why a high-speed rail in California that would use already outdated technologies?  Why ground-based rails vulnerable to earthquakes?

Why not something new?  Or at least why not a conversation about something new?

California may be more ready than Florida to have a conversation about innovative transportation.  But that shouldn’t be.

 Florida’s economy would be transformed by high-speed rail.  For this reason alone, Floridians should engage in a robust conversation about high-speed rail and innovative transportation.

Although it’s unlikely Hyperloop will be built in California anytime soon — it has a $6 billion price tag that many say is a low estimate  — at least entrepreneurs like Musk are proposing it as a viable idea.  Hyperloop is the result of years of conversation about the need for better transportation alternatives in California.

Florida may not be considered for a Hyperloop anytime soon.  However, the good news is that a conversation about transportation, led by a group called Greenlight Pinellas, is starting in the Tampa Bay area.

It is a conversation in which we should all participate.

The full Hyperloop white paper can be found here.

Guest Author

One comment

  • EyeC

    August 29, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Because we’re a banana republic. Could you imagine how many local folks electeds would have to offer their 2 cents and influence to the process?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn