CALGARY — The Alberta government says it will support a proposal to build a hyperloop transport system capable of whisking passengers in an elevated tube between Edmonton and Calgary at 1,000 kilometres per hour.
But the memorandum of understanding signed with project proponent TransPod doesn't involve any financial commitment or endorsements by the province, and the system is still years away from being tested and built.
The company's decision to develop the technology in Alberta is a "great reflection" on the province's record of innovation, said Premier Jason Kenney on Tuesday.
"This is as-yet unproven technology in terms of a large commercial application but we're happy that the proponents have come to us and asked to do the research here in Alberta and we're excited to co-operate with them on that hyperloop research," he said.
"It just means the use of some Crown land. There's no cost to the taxpayer and we're not in the business of writing blank cheques for as-yet unproven technology but we hope that if their research pans out here in Alberta that maybe we will see further investments in this type of important innovation in transportation technology."
The Toronto-based company, which first announced it would seek Alberta provincial backing in 2017 when the NDP was in power, said the agreement will allow it to attract private investment for what would be a multibillion-dollar infrastructure project.
It aims to conduct a feasibility study over the next two years, move into a research and development phase until 2024, then build a test track and conduct tests until 2027 before completing the full 300-kilometre line between Edmonton and Calgary.
The company envisions low-pressure sealed tubes suspended above ground on concrete posts allowing magnetically levitated pods within to transport passengers and cargo between Calgary and Edmonton in about 30 minutes.
The province will provide information contributing to the research, development, testing and eventual construction of the TransPod line, said Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver.
"We look forward to seeing this work put Alberta on the forefront of the movement of goods and people," he said.
TransPod says its system is being examined by governments and organizations for several projects around the world and it is currently in the design and development phase for a testing facility in France.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2020.
The Canadian Press