When it comes to stories about the hyperloop, it's good to employ a healthy level of skepticism. We've seen all manner of stories breathlessly proclaiming that the high-speed vacuum-propelled pods are coming to Colorado, Missouri and Maryland, among other places. But here's something that may actually be worth paying attention to.

The Washington Post reports that Elon Musk's Boring Co. "has received an early, and vague, building permit from the D.C. government that will allow some preparatory and excavation work" on the site of a fenced-off parking lot in the district's booming NoMa neighborhood. The permit was issued in late November. A Boring Co. spokesman confirmed that the location "if constructed, could become a station" for a either a Hyperloop or Musk's Boring Co. underground mobile platforms.

Musk, of course, is keen to develop a high-speed underground transportation system between D.C. and New York, famously tweeting last summer that he'd received "verbal govt approval" to build the system, which would do the run in 29 minutes and also include stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia. The Post reports that D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has visited the Boring Co. in California and that the district's Department of Transportation is trying to determine what other permits the company would need to start boring underneath city roads and other public spaces. So this is still a long way from meaning that you'll be able to go from D.C. to New York in less than half an hour IRL. But maybe it's the first, uh, stake in the ground for Musk's futuristic transportation dreams?

Meanwhile, there's more activity in hyperloop dreamland. Private company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has signed agreements with agencies in Ohio and Illinois to study routes that could whisk passengers between Cleveland and Chicago in just 28 minutes, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The work to identify routes, cost, ridership and potential station locations is expected to take six to 12 months.

Finally, Richard Branson's Virgin Hyperloop One has signed a preliminary agreement for a transportation network connecting the Indian city of Pune with new airport planned in Mumbai that would make the more than three-hour trip in 25 minutes. Bloomberg reports that a demonstration track will be built in two to three years following the signing of the final agreement, with a second phase aiming to complete construction of the full route in five to seven years.

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