CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin has been in the loop on the Hyperloop.

That is a proposed method of high-speed transportation for people or freight through a system of tubes.

Last week, the developer Virgin Hyperloop One announced that it is asking states to participate in a development center. An article by the Reuters news agency name-dropped West Virginia but without greater detail.

A press release distributed on Wednesday by Manchin’s office described an Oct. 16 meeting with the leadership team of Virgin Hyperloop One.

Manchin’s statement said he sent a letter advocating for the state’s participation to Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group.


U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

“I came away from the meeting convinced that this is a giant leap forward into the future of transportation, an engine that will change the way we travel and transform the national landscape,” Manchin wrote.

“I am just as convinced that my state of West Virginia is the partner you are seeking to make this a reality.”

Manchin, D-W.Va., cited his membership on the Senate’s Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee and ts role in overseeing non-traditional and emerging transportation.

A hyperloop system could connect cities, allowing transportation in pods zipping through sealed tubes at speeds of 600 miles an hour or more.

This is possible because of the magic of a “proprietary magnetic levitation system.”

But more research and testing are necessary.

Virgin Hyperloop One has released a request for proposals to states, regional or local governments and other organizations to create a certification and test center to establish regulatory standards for the new technology.

That’s where West Virginia could get involved.

“You have set forth an aggressive schedule for construction of the test site and certification, and I strongly believe that West Virginia can move Virgin Hyperloop One through complete testing to full operational capability more efficiently than anywhere else,” Manchin wrote.