CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDVM) — In October of 2020, Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Hyperloop One selected the Mountain State as their new location for a $500 million certification center, one that would serve as a testing site for the groundbreaking new mode of transportation. But now, the plans for the site appear to be heading in a new direction.
Virgin Hyperloop confirmed they have laid off over 100 employees, roughly half of their staff, and are now switching from transporting people on the groundbreaking system to moving cargo and freight. The certification center, which was proposed for Tucker County, was set to include a 6-mile test track for the magnetically levitating pods and create upwards of 13,000 jobs in West Virginia.
Governor Jim Justice weighed in on the matter during Friday’s coronavirus briefing.
“I think there’s still a real opportunity here in West Virginia and we’re gonna have some bumps and bruises along the way and some things that don’t work out exactly maybe the way we hoped did work out but if this happens to be one of them, fine,” Gov. Justice said. “If not, you know, it may very well even do better than what we’d hoped to.”
In a report from The Hill, Virgin Hyperloop told the Financial Times that the layoffs would shift the company’s focus to delivering cargo with the hyperloop pods and that global supply chain issues had an effect on the new objective.