Welcome to the first of my my Fantasyland Megaprojects series. This is a series of articles where I'll propose outlandish infrastructure projects that I believe would greatly benefit our nation. I make these proposals with complete understanding of the red tape and financial restrictions that would actually go into these undertakings, but this is also a place where I simply don't give a care.
My first proposal is the TransCanada Bullet.
The TransCanada Bullet is a bullet train that would span our entire nation. More accurately, it would use the Hyperloop technology proposed by Elon Musk. The Hyperloop is a train like transportation method that uses magnetic levitation or air bearings to propel it. Musk estimates that the Hyperloop could go as fast as 1,200 km/h.
Let's look at how long it would take to travel from coast to coast - Halifax to Vancouver. Driving would take 58 hours. Flying, 8 hours and 10 minutes. The Hyperloop will take around 4 hours.
The implications of this are huge. This also means that you could travel from Montreal to Toronto in less around 30 minutes. Your commute could not only be between cities, but even between provinces!
The TransCanada Bullet would, in effect, shrink our enormous nation. This could go a long way to increase travel and trade between the provinces. If you consider that the Hyperloop could also be used to run freight, then you begin to realize how this development could truly improve our nation. Passenger transportation is one thing, but goods are still shipped by truck or train, so the TransCanada Bullet would vastly reduce price and time on shipping.
We should look at costs, even in Fantasyland. Estimates vary wildly between Musk's own $11.6 million per mile, to $121 million per mile which was estimated in a leaked document from Hyperloop One. So taking the highest estimate and comparing it to the TransCanada highway route from Halifax to Vancouver, we're looking at a bill of AROUND $463 billion. USD.
So of course this is not viable for the federal government to fund, but what about private companies?
Are you serious? You spend half your time writing about how you hate private companies.
Okay, yes Other Mike, I do spend a lot of time pooping on corporations, but that shouldn't be mistaken as me disliking corporate projects as a rule. I love Netflix, and they're a corporation. Q.E.D., bitches!
I have no problem with corporations who actually provide goods and services for the return of capital. I also have no problems with corporations that make investments with the expectation of returning capital. The problem with modern corporations is that their success is mostly contingent on market manipulation and don't actually contribute to the global economy in any way except for padding the wallets of their executives. I believe they've simply lost their way, but that doesn't mean it must always be the case.
I should mention that there is precedent of this type of development. The continental railways that were built in the 1800's by private investor. These railways had their share of humanitarian crises, but hopefully with modern technology and civilian armed surveillance, we wouldn't succumb to throwing death and suffering at this development until its completion.
Also there was a major economic recession when the bubble burst
Look, there's no way we can expect the Canadian government to foot the bill for $450+ billion. But if we can open up private companies to build the Bullet and hire Canadian workers and have major stakes in the shipping and transportation industries that would come out of the development, then there would be major incentive to make profits down the line. It would still require major capital investment and probably some crazy government subsidies, but it would push our nation to explore new technologies and have us contribute to the next era of world infrastructure in a very meaningful way.
More to the point of Canadian workers, we're going to need to consider that many manual workers that were employed in Alberta are in search of work. Due to many factors including Saudi Arabian shenanigans, the U.S. now exporting oil, and the Fort McMurray fire, up to as many as 100,000 oil sands workers are unemployed. My guess is many of them will be eager to work for a project that will have lasting effects in global innovation.
So in closing, let's just do it! It'll be awesome and cool and innovative, so why shouldn't we besides all of those real world implications? It would put Canada on the map for one of the most important technological innovations in history as well as making weekend trips to Banff or Halifax completely viable. I'll tell you this, in Fantasyland, they'd have already started construction.