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Hyperloop could land near Apple's spaceship campus

Cupertino is getting crushed by traffic, leading the city council to look to the future for help.

A rendering of a hyperloop system by HTT.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

The home of Apple is looking at connecting itself to the rest of California using futuristic transportation technology that could be a nice complement to the company's new spaceship campus.

Members of the Cupertino city council in a public meeting Tuesday said they are having preliminary conversations about bringing hyperloop, the near-supersonic train-in-a-tube transit first introduced by Elon Musk, to town.

"We are talking to Hyperloop to have a line," said councilor Barry Chang during the meeting. "If this comes to a realization, it only would take five minutes from DeAnza College to downtown San Jose instead of a couple hours."

The revelation came just before the council voted down a proposal that would have put a new tax on the ballot to raise money for transportation solutions to address the city's traffic problems. The proposed tax would have been levied on medium and large companies in the city based on total number of employees. The vast majority of revenue from such a tax would be paid by Apple, which plans to have over 12,000 people working in its new campus in the city.

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Michael Foulkes, Apple's director of state and local government affairs, spoke at the meeting in opposition to the proposed ballot measure and although he did not mention hyperloop specifically, he did suggest that city officials work with Apple's transportation experts on "forward-thinking solutions" to "do what we do in Cupertino and at Apple, which is really be creative and find solutions for the long-term."

The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that Chang and Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul have met with startup Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), which has been touring the world signing deals to pursue potential hyperloop lines in places as disparate as Cleveland and Ukraine.

"At this point we have taken no formal action and have no official position on any specific transit mode or alignment," Paul told me via email Thursday. "Personally, I am actively involved in trying to get as many options as possible on the table."

Chang and Apple did not respond to requests for further comment. An HTT spokesperson declined to provide a comment.

HTT is currently building a test track in France. So far the only company to test a full-size hyperloop pod is Richard Branson-backed Virgin Hyperloop One, which has hit speeds of 240 miles per hour (386 kph) on the company's short test track in Nevada. A SpaceX-sponsored competition recently saw a miniature pod design hit 284 mph (457 kph).

Musk's original design promises that a hyperloop traveling longer distances between cities could reach speeds exceeding that of the fastest commercial jet aircraft currently in use.

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