By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Maryland is backing plans to burrow a high-speed transportation tunnel between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) issued a conditional utility permit allowing Elon Musk’s tunneling firm, The Boring Co., to dig under a 10.3-mile state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, The Baltimore Sun reported. More than two-thirds of the 35-mile Parkway between the two cities is owned by the federal government, which has not yet given permission to Musk.

Musk wants to build an electric propulsion system through a low-pressure tube called hyperloop. Special vehicles would float above the track using magnetic levitation and glide at airline speeds due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. Musk has also proposed a similar system in Southern California.

The entrepreneur’s visionary plans are generally viewed as a mix of hype and hope for the next generation of transportation infrastructure construction.

The same day as the tunnel announcement, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh also launched a $27.3 million transportation and infrastructure improvement project to revitalize the North Avenue Corridor in the city. Funding includes $14.7 million from MDOT, $1 million from the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, a $10 million federal TIGER grant, and $1.6 million from the Federal Highway Administration.