Elon Musk claimed on his Twitter account that he had received permission to build his much anticipated underground project “Hyperloop” from the US authorities that will reduce travel time between New York and Washington DC down to 29 minutes.
The tech mogul has been inching closer to make the once seemingly far-fetched idea a reality, with the first full-scale test being conducted just last week. The news of a verbal permission of the magnificent transportation solution put the internet into a frenzy, with people asking for more details.
Mr. Musk, who has a habit of making some wild claims, did not say who gave him the permission, neither did he comment on the nature of the “verbal agreement.”
“Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins,” he said on Twitter.
“City centre to city centre in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city.”
But anyone who has worked with the US authorities knows the US government does not work on “verbal government approvals.”
Sure enough, Musk had to walk-back on his claim in about 90 minutes, tweeting:
“Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but I am optimistic that it will occur rapidly”.
Indeed, a lot of work is still needed to formally receive the approval.
Several spokespeople in the administration were phoned by the journalist to verify Musk’s claims, only to hear the officials laugh at the claim, that an interstate transit project in four of the east coast’s largest cities could possibly be approved verbally.
“Who gave him permission to do that?” asked a spokesman with the Maryland department of transportation.
“Elon Musk has had no contact with Philadelphia officials on this matter,” said Mike Dunn, the city spokesman. “We do not know what he means when he says he received ‘verbal government approval’. There are numerous hurdles for this unproven ‘hyperloop’ technology before it can become reality.”
A Pennsylvania state spokesperson confirmed that neither the governor nor the state’s department of transportation had issued any permissions for Musk’s company.
Ben Sarle, who is a spokesman for the New York City mayor’s office, elaborated in an email:
“Nobody in City Hall, or any of our city agencies, has heard from Mr Musk or any representatives of his company.”
“The New York state department of transportation did not give verbal approval for a hyperloop,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Post.
Anthony McCarthy, who is the spokesman for the Baltimore mayor, Catherine Pugh, said:
“Mr Musk’s announcement on Twitter was the first that the city heard of the Hyperloop project. ” However, Pugh said in a statement that she was “excited” to hear about the idea, which could “create new opportunities for Baltimore and transform the way we link to neighboring cities” – if it becomes a reality.
Musk had to resign to the reality that he has jumped to conclusions, and soon enough had to publish this tweet.