Province signs pact with firm seeking to build 1,000 km/h link between Calgary and Edmonton

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Gendron said he’s well aware of skeptics who view the proposal as a magnetic pipe dream, and pointed to futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk’s endeavours that have confounded naysayers.

“Space X step by step overcame skepticism,” he said.

“I am 100 per cent sure (it’ll be built).”

Gendron has said the link would require between five million and six million passengers a year to be economically feasible, and predicted that would be quickly fulfilled.

The plan is to have construction start on the main line in 2025, with service commencing five years later.

Gendron insisted Alberta’s current economic challenges shouldn’t put a damper on the hyperloop, adding the current COVID-19 pandemic actually provides some impetus for the project.

“With the COVID-19 crisis there’s lot of (investment) liquidity in the markets and there’s a lot of appetite for infrastructure investment — they can play the long run,” said Gendron.

“This time is a wake-up call for governments — we need to diversify the economy.”

McIver said he agreed, adding the project would help vary Alberta’s economy while beaming a signal outside the province.

“It’ll draw good attention to Alberta as one more message that we’re open for business,” he said.

TransPod said the project would create 38,000 jobs over 10 years, while its electric propulsion system could displace 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The company has also said the generally flat topography between Calgary and Edmonton and its relatively sparse rural population make the corridor ideal for the hyperloop’s construction.

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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