Virgin Hyperloop has selected West Virginia as the site for a $ 500 million certification center that will serve as a test track for a high-speed transportation system, the company announced Thursday.
More than a dozen states have submitted bids to become the future site of the six-mile track and other facilities on more than 800 acres in Tucker and Grant counties in the northeastern part of the state.
The high-speed travel concept includes the use of enclosed pods to take passengers underground at speeds of over 600 mph via electromagnetic levitation transport. Technology allows for quiet and fast travel.
A trip from New York to Washington would take about 30 minutes, Reuters reported. Virgin is studying a route from Chicago to Pittsburgh in under an hour.
The effort is expected to bring thousands of temporary construction jobs to West Virginia, which has seen an economic decline amid a coal industry recession. The facility will employ up to 200 workers once completed.
“What we are doing is bringing a new industry directly to where the West Virginia mines once operated,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One, in an announcement with elected officials.
Other states vying for the facility included Delaware, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, according to a company press release.
Construction of a pod assembly plant, security centers and other operations will begin next year. Commercial operations are at least a decade away, the company said.
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It was unclear whether the company had received any financial incentives that made West Virginia a more attractive site. The project will be funded by public and private funds, a company spokesperson said.
“When we approached Virgin Hyperloop, I told them we would do everything possible to bring this opportunity to West Virginia,” said Governor Jim Justice.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.