US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says that Elon Musk’s idea of Hyperloop is interesting. But added that it is not using a dime from the government. The statement was given during a Q&A session on Monday as Buttigieg discussed Biden’s administration approach.
He said, “We’re all about exciting ideas that could make a difference. But whether we’re talking about [electric vehicles] or high-speed rail, technologies that exist today, that could make a difference today, is where we have to begin.” Buttigieg also noted that Musk’s Hyperloop idea is “super interesting” and one that probably deserves to be explored. However, the US Transport Secretary also noted that “we’ll probably not try it on our dime.”
Buttigieg highlighted that Hyperloop technologies are still untested in the real world. He also expressed reservations about the feasibility of the system’s design. Buttigieg’s concerns echo the points made against the idea by skeptics in the past, some of whom have noted that the Hyperloop’s use of near-vacuum tunnels would make the system difficult and expensive to maintain. Buttigieg, for his part, highlighted that the US lags far behind other developed nations in the quality, functionality, and extent of high-speed rail systems. Even without countries like Japan in the picture, which has a mature high-speed rail system, the US still lags behind other countries such as Uzbekistan, which has a high-speed rail line able to run at 155 mph.
Throughout the interview, Pete reflects on his experience as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, how he is passionate about infrastructure, and the funding coming from the IIJA to help communities that need an economic boost in order to achieve infrastructure projects. “We’re going to serve everybody equally,” said the Transportation Secretary about the funding from the IIJA.
“I think sometimes folks forget what the government is doing for them if we fail to make it clear. Of course, it’s not just about the check, it’s about the results,” said Buttigieg on funding infrastructure projects. “The project we’re doing there in New Hampshire, for example, is going to help them in a very blue-collar town that hasn’t gotten the attention that it’s needed for its downtown streets. We’re going to help them transform the economic opportunities for that community, with funding that’s going to redo its streetscapes.” Buttigieg went on to explain what the funding will do in New Hampshire. He talked about infrastructure in our country and why the funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is so critical.