The Los Angeles Public Works Committee asked for a California Environmental Quality Act waiver to accelerate the build-out of Hyperloop tunnels under 4 million residents.
The request is a spectacular win for Elon Musk’s Hyperloop initiative, which envisions urban motorists pulling over to curbside elevators that lower cars on electric sleds to underground tunnels that would whisk motorists at speeds of over 100 miles-per-hour across town.
The move came just 48-hours after UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs released its 2018 Quality of Life Index (QLI) that found over the last two years that residents had rated “Transportation/Traffic” as suffering the worst satisfaction by falling 8 points from a score of 58 to 50. The second worst performer was “Cost of Living,” plunging from 50 to 43.
Sixty-eight percent of 18-29-year-olds, and 73 percent of 30-39-year-olds, said they have a close friend or family member that considered moving from their neighborhood because of the costs of housing and traffic in the last two years.
Former L.A. County Supervisor and Director of the Los Angeles Initiative Zev Yaroslavsky commented: “Historically, young people, especially in Los Angeles, could look forward to a great future, but today they have the highest level of negativity and anxiety, especially between the ages of 18-29. This should be a matter of concern to all of us.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that members of the frustrated Public Works Committee are willing to consider any option to “untangle the city’s notorious traffic.”
The City and County of Los Angeles had been staunch supporters of public rail transportation, but the California Supreme Court ruled on July 27 that railroads owned by the state or local government are still subject to state environmental laws, not just federal environmental laws. Although the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Los Angeles Metro were not a party to this lawsuit, both now face even bigger environmental delays.
Federal Environmental Impact Statements to address rail construction and operation issues take an average three and a half years to create. But the CEQA has also been blamed by both Democrats and Republicans for allowing class action attorneys to abuse the process with costly delays in pursuit of financial windfalls.
Breitbart News recently reported that Hyperloop One may have just killed California’s High-Speed Rail after the Hyperloop’s 28-foot long aluminum and carbon-fiber production-scale pod hit its first milestone last July by traveling down a 1,640-foot near-zero-resistance vacuum tube test-track at a speed of 70 miles-per-hour.
The energy input for the Hyperloop to move objects in what is equivalent of traveling in the frictionless ionosphere about 38 miles above the Earth will be a fraction of the cost of surface street transportation.
In addition, Musk’s Boring Company has already received its first urban commercial drilling permit from Washington D.C. and tweeted that he had “verbal government approval” to build a DC-New York Hyperloop tunnel that could offer a 29-minute service between the cities.
The proposed exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act review still requires approval by the full City Council, amid concerns about rushing into the project without the analysis.