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Missouri Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr has announced the formation of a Blue-Ribbon Panel on Hyperloop, consisting of statewide public and private sector leaders in the transportation sector. The panel will be chaired by Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe and present its recommendations to the Speaker on how to establish Missouri as the global epicenter for the research, development, and commercialization of hyperloop technology.

The panel will kick-off its first meeting on March 25th in Jefferson City, Missouri to begin analyzing how the state can make an I-70 hyperloop route connecting Kansas City and St. Louis a reality. The feasibility of this route has already been analyzed and confirmed by Black & Veatch, who found that it could save commuters up to $410 million per year while cutting the 4-hour trip down to about 30 minutes. Missouri was the first state in the nation to conduct a hyperloop feasibility study and remains a leader in this area thanks to Speaker Haahr’s Blue Ribbon Panel announcement.

Other routes under consideration around the U.S., and which are currently undergoing feasibility studies, include Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh, and Austin-Dallas-Houston-Laredo-San-Antonio. Missouri is considered by some to have a competitive advantage since the feasibility study is already complete and the state owns the right-of-way along I-70, minimizing the need for land acquisition. The route under consideration is also relatively straight and flat, which reduces construction costs and eliminates the need for tunneling.

A final report and recommendations from the Blue-Ribbon Panel are expected in a matter of months.