On Monday evening, Elon Musk revealed his proposal for the Hyperloop to the world. The transportation system would turn a five hour car ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco into a 30 minute ride in a tube. Despite being the one who drafted the proposal, Musk is skeptical on a number of fronts. That's why some Redditors are charging full steam ahead to back him, and the project, up.
Soon after the Hyperloop was announced, a subreddit called /r/HyperloopCAProp popped up on the popular news sharing site. The subreddit's goal is to push for a public vote on a proposal that would replace the current high speed rail project in California with Musk's Hyperloop project.
The first step is to create a proposal, and the subreddit's moderator, rocketscientist89, already has a plan:
The basic fundamentals of the proposal are: re-use the existing land/surveying studies for the rail project for the hyperloop, taking into account any necessary modifications for legal/technical reasons. We should aim to stick to the already approved path.
Find, fund, and establish a proof-of-concept test line somewhere in CA, where it is is honestly not that important (IMO) but we should try to get it where people can visit, and hopefully ride a full scale version of it even if only for a short distance. There is a lot of fleshing out to do here, but that's the point of this.
With both a proof-of-concept and re-using the existing foundational studies/research for the highspeed rail project, we should be able to draft a realistic proposal that addresses the technical and logistical challenges of building the full scale line, running from SF to San Diego. Ideally, this should include estimates of cost, job creation, long-term impacts, etc. Again, a lot of work to do, but if we crowd-source this I believe it is achievable.
Timeline: We should shoot to have this proposal on the 2016 Ballot. That gives us a little over two years to get it done. Lets hit the ground running reddit!
To get on the ballot, the subreddit and other volunteers will have to draft the proposal and then obtain 500,000 signatures of California citizens. The subreddit has a lot of work cut out for them if you take /r/California's population of 12,666 to be indicative of Reddit's Californian population, but there's likely to be a lot more if you take subreddits like /r/LosAngeles into account.
Still, the Reddit community has performed some amazing feats in the past. A group of Redditor's raised $90,000 as part of TestPAC to challenge Rep. Lamar Smith's run for reelection in 2012 after SOPA, which he drafted, was defeated in the House. They were ultimately unsuccessful, but gathering 500,000 signatures should be much easier than defeating an entrenched politician with a multi-million dollar reelection campaign.[h/t: The Raw Story]