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Billionaire Elon Musk says he'll build a five-mile Hyperloop test track, "most likely in Texas," that companies and students can use to try out pod designs for the tube-based rapid transit system he proposed. Musk, who founded the SpaceX rocket company and heads the Tesla electric car venture, floated the idea on Thursday at the annual Texas Transportation Forum in Austin.

In the past, Musk has said SpaceX and Tesla kept him too busy to pursue the Hyperloop concept — which he proposed as a way to go between, say, Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than an hour. Supporters of the idea have already launched a crowdsourced venture aimed at turning it into a reality within a decade. Musk's comments could add to the momentum.

He suggested that students could test their pod designs in a program similar to the Formula SAE competition for automotive design. "People could compete, say, who could make the pod go the fastest, and maybe compete on other dimensions," Musk said. "I think that could be pretty fun."



— Alan Boyle