Governor Jim Justice, a businessman and job creator who thinks big about creating jobs for West Virginians, announced one of the largest economic development projects in recent state history today.

Governor Justice joined native West Virginian John Chambers, former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, and Jay Walder, CEO, Virgin Hyperloop, elected officials, and education leaders to announce that Virgin Hyperloop has selected West Virginia to be the home of a $500 million Hyperloop Certification Center.

“Today is a fantastic day for the state of West Virginia, and I’d like to be the first to officially welcome the folks from Virgin Hyperloop to their new home. For years, I have been saying that West Virginia is the best kept secret on the East Coast, and it’s true. Just look at this announcement and all it will bring to our state – investment, jobs, and tremendous growth. It’s a true honor and privilege to be selected as the site for the Hyperloop Certification Center and lead the nation in the next step forward for transportation,” said Governor Jim Justice.

West Virginia was among 17 states submitting proposals for the Hyperloop Certification Center. Virgin Hyperloop will construct the Hyperloop Certification Center and test track on 800 acres of land in Tucker and Grant counties owned by Western Pocahontas Properties and located near Mount Storm.

The project will create thousands of construction jobs and several hundred permanent high-tech, research, manufacturing, and transportation jobs in West Virginia. West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research estimates the project will pump $48 million annually into the state’s economy once completed.

“Today is one of the most exciting days in Virgin Hyperloop’s history. The Hyperloop Certification Center is the start of the hyperloop journey for West Virginia, for the United States, and for the world. We’re one step closer to making hyperloop travel a reality for people everywhere,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group

Once completed, The Hyperloop will enable travel from Pittsburgh to Chicago in 41 minutes or New York City to Washington, D.C., in just 30 minutes. Virgin Hyperloop was founded by Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Records, the Virgin Atlantic airline, and Virgin Galactic.

“West Virginia is well-positioned to provide a fully integrated solution that advances the nationwide opportunity for Hyperloop,” said Jay Walder, chief executive officer of Virgin Hyperloop. “The engineering and scientific talent, combined with the skilled workforce and collaborative spirit we know is critical to this project, is all right here.”

Other official joining in the announcement included U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, U.S. Representatives David McKinley, Alex Mooney, and Carol Miller, West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, and Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert.