Secretary Elaine Chao Unveils Guidance Document for Regulation of Hyperloop


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U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council unveiled the guidance document on a clear regulatory framework for hyperloop in the United States.

“This guidance bridges the gap between innovator and regulator, prioritizes safety during development without hampering innovation, and promotes mutual awareness between industry and government,” said Secretary Elaine Chao during a live-streamed event.

The regulatory guidance document for hyperloop is the first of its kind in the world, further proving that the US intends to be the leader in the industry.

“Hyperloop offers a truly unique opportunity to lead the world in 21st century transportation,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. “It takes strong vision to break away from the inertia of the status quo and embrace these opportunities. The announcement today will help lay the groundwork for the United States to take that leadership.”

Virgin Hyperloop has been working closely with the NETT Council over the last year and a half, since its creation in March 2019, to advance its technology and ensure that they are able to deploy hyperloop safely and quickly.

This historic announcement not only provides a pathway for hyperloop regulation and deployment in the US, but also establishes hyperloop’s eligibility for federal funding for projects. 

“We have determined that these hyperloop projects are just as eligible for grant as any maglev or magnetic levitation project,” said Finch Fulton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy during the live-streamed event. “This includes the Federal Railroad Administration Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program, the Office of the Secretary BUILD and INFRA grants, and programs of that sort. This also means that they would be eligible for some of the Department’s loan and lending programs.”

“Secretary Chao and the NETT Council are working at an unprecedented speed to ensure that the United States is at the forefront of hyperloop development,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop. “It’s clear that the USDOT shares our vision for infrastructure development as a way for the country to not just rebuild, but evolve as we emerge from this crisis.”

As an entirely new category of transportation, hyperloop will unlock exponential growth opportunities for cross-industry manufacturing and development jobs - across construction, aerospace, rail, automotive, aviation, electric vehicles, and autonomous control. Last month, Virgin Hyperloop announced a partnership with Spirit AeroSystems, one of the world’s largest aerospace manufacturers. Spirit AeroSystems engineers, fabricators, builders, supply chain and certification experts, and technicians will leverage relevant aerospace industry expertise to produce the hyperloop bogie – a clear example of adjacency opportunities in the sector.

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