Written byShiladitya Ray ·
City councilors are currently in preliminary talks with Hyperloop as solution to Cupertino's transportation problems, and it might be in Apple's interest to "heavily subsidize" the construction.
Here's all about it.
While Cupertino owes a sizeable part of its growth to the presence of tech companies, giants like Apple, despite their contribution, has also put strains on the city, particularly, its transportation system.
Just prior to considering Hyperloop as a solution, Cupertino was mulling introducing a per employee "head tax" on Cupertino-based medium/large companies to fund transportation solutions.
However, the proposal has been delayed.
If Cupertino passes the bill looking to tax companies with 100 or more employees at a flat rate per employee, Apple's annual tax bill in Cupertino would rise from $17,000 to a whopping $9.4mn. Apple, understandably, has raised objections to it.
While most opposition to Cupertino's proposed tax came from local medium/large enterprises, Apple vocally spoke out against it.
"[Let us] do what we do in Cupertino and at Apple, which is really be creative and find solutions for the long-term," said Apple's director of local government affairs, Michael Foulkes, suggesting that technology be used to find a solution.
However, he didn't mention Hyperloop specifically.
Yet, while the proposed solution for Cupertino, as of now, is Hyperloop, it's best not to count chickens before they hatch.
So far, all plans around Hyperloop in the US have remained mere plans, partly owing to difficulties in getting every stakeholder to sign off on such projects.
However, given Apple's muscle power, Cupertino stand a better chance at building one.
"Democracy isn't friendly to these kinds of things. It's a very large infrastructure project requiring a lot of people to work together. If you want to do this in the US, you have tedious right-of-way issues," Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn had said earlier.
But, Cupertino might have it easier in terms of getting people on board.
The city and its people have actively been looking for solutions to their transportation woes, and a Hyperloop, with investments from tech companies, could be one.
Additionally, with Apple having dodged a financial bullet, the $1 trillion company might be willing to settle for a one-time investment over paying annual taxes.
However, it's worth noting that practical Hyperloop technologies are at least a few years away.
While Musk envisioned Hyperloop to travel at 800mph, so far, the fastest speed achieved has been 290mph by Virgin Hyperloop One.
Additionally, there's no clarity about how much a Hyperloop line might cost, but it's expected to be in the billions.
Thus, for now, Cupertino's transportation woes remain.
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