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Our Opinion: Bold proposals could change state's industry, transportation

News Tribune Editorial October 22, 2017 at 5:10 a.m. | Updated October 22, 2017 at 8:54 a.m.

Missouri officials' enthusiasm about the prospect of becoming Amazon's second headquarters has rubbed off on us.

Both St. Louis and Kansas City submitted proposals by the Thursday deadline to win the competition to be Amazon's second headquarters, or HQ2.

In perhaps an uncommon move, the state submitted its own proposal designed to support the state's two largest cities in their economic development quest.

"Amazon is a company full of people who turn big ideas into reality," Governor Eric Greitens said. "My team fully and equally supported the proposals submitted by our major metropolitan areas, Kansas City and St. Louis. We challenge Amazon to envision what it could achieve by partnering with us to unleash the combined strength of the entire state. We'd love to work with Amazon to build their new home here in Missouri."

In our increasingly global and ever-shifting economy, Missouri must be nimble in its ability to adapt. As technology progresses, industries change. As old revenue models become less profitable, the doors open on new ones.

Modes of transportation change, too, and we're due for a new one. The last big innovation in transportation was about a century ago when airplanes - and later, commercial airlines - were pioneered.

Missouri hopes to latch on to the next big thing in transportation: hyperloop. A private firm called Hyperloop One is pioneering a technology that propels pods through tubes using an engine and magnets to reach speeds of commercial planes.

Missouri is a finalist for the International Hyperloop One competition for a route that includes Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis.

The technology uses magnets to suspend the pods in the tubes in a vacuum, which allows for ultra-low aerodynamic drag. All that nerd talk boils down to one thing: You could get from Kansas City to St. Louis in 24 minutes.

This isn't a pipe dream, so to speak. Investors have poured more than $200 million into the company, which is working aggressively to be in operation by 2021. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson recently teamed with Hyperloop One.

In the not-so-distant future, it's conceivable Amazon could build HQ2 in Missouri, and use hyperloops to meet their goal of same-day deliveries.

We commend Greitens and the Department of Economic Development for actively supporting proposals to bring new economic development and innovation to the Show-Me State.

News Tribune


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