The UCP government is on board with a plan to build a 1,000 km/h magnetic duo-monorail-type link between Calgary and Edmonton.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the province and TransPod moves the dream of constructing the $6-billion to $8-billion hyperloop — that would whisk riders between the two major cities in 30 minutes — a major step closer, say both sides.
“We’re going to try to work with them to make that possible,” said Transportation Minister Ric McIver.
“We want them to build it — I can’t wait to see this technology in action if they can get it in action.”
While the province hasn’t agreed to commit any taxpayer funds to the proposal, it has agreed to work toward finding a right-of-way for the elevated hyperloop, expediting approvals and supplying relevant transportation data.
“Why would we not try to assist them? They didn’t come looking for a handout,” said McIver.
The province has agreed to allocate a 10-kilometre stretch of land between Olds and Didsbury to construct a test track to confirm the technical and economic viability of the proposal, said TransPod.
The study could commence early next year, said Toronto-headquartered TransPod CEO Sebastien Gendron, who called the MOU with the province “an excellent first step” that will encourage private investors waiting in the wings.
“We need a framework to show the big players Alberta’s open for business, and minister McIver’s been clear they can help us with this.”
The two are expected to hold a news conference Tuesday to announce the MOU.
High-speed rail connecting Calgary and Edmonton has long been a dream of those seeking to solidify economic development in one of Canada’s prime intercity corridors.
TransPod’s technology would consist of two steel tubes elevated on concrete footings that would propel magnetically-levitated pods at speeds rivalling those of jet airliners.
It would reduce the usual six-hour round-trip drive between Alberta’s two largest cities to one hour, and would propel both passengers and cargo.
That freight component would supplement passenger fees, as would energy generated by solar panels mounted on the hyperloop’s footings, said Gendron.
His company has been lobbying Alberta’s provincial governments for at least two years, with the previous NDP regime proving a roadblock with its insistence any test track be torn down after use, Gendron has said.
Investors, he said, favour a plan that would have that track — which could be extended to 20 kilometres for testing — be incorporated into the final route with stops at Red Deer, in downtown Calgary and at the Edmonton International Airport.
Gendron said he’s well aware of skeptics who view the proposal as a magnetic pipe dream, and pointed to futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk’s endeavours that have confounded naysayers.
“Space X step by step overcame skepticism,” he said.
“I am 100 per cent sure (it’ll be built).”
Gendron has said the link would require between five million and six million passengers a year to be economically feasible, and predicted that would be quickly fulfilled.
The plan is to have construction start on the main line in 2025, with service commencing five years later.
Gendron insisted Alberta’s current economic challenges shouldn’t put a damper on the hyperloop, adding the current COVID-19 pandemic actually provides some impetus for the project.
“With the COVID-19 crisis there’s lot of (investment) liquidity in the markets and there’s a lot of appetite for infrastructure investment — they can play the long run,” said Gendron.
“This time is a wake-up call for governments — we need to diversify the economy.”
McIver said he agreed, adding the project would help vary Alberta’s economy while beaming a signal outside the province.
“It’ll draw good attention to Alberta as one more message that we’re open for business,” he said.
TransPod said the project would create 38,000 jobs over 10 years, while its electric propulsion system could displace 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
The company has also said the generally flat topography between Calgary and Edmonton and its relatively sparse rural population make the corridor ideal for the hyperloop’s construction.
Prohibida la reproducción parcial o total. Todos los derechos reservados de Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., del Autor y/o Propietario original de la publicación. El contenido del presente artículo y/o cualquier otro artículo, texto, boletín, noticia y/o contenido digital, entre otros, ya sea propio o de tercero alguno, publicado en nuestra página de internet u otros medios digitales, no constituye una consulta particular y por lo tanto Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., sus colaboradores, socios, directivos y su autor, no asumen responsabilidad alguna de la interpretación o aplicación que el lector o destinatario le pueda dar.