In June, the Trump administration plans to announce 10 companies it wants to hire to build prototypes of its planned border wall between Mexico and the United States. A group of 14 Mexican and American engineers, urban planners, ecologists and architects dubbed the MADE Collective hopes it will be among them.
While dozens of private contractors likely took heed of the Customs and Border Protection's request for design prototypes depicting a solid, concrete barrier between nations the MADE Collective offered an alternative: a hyperloop.
A type of high-speed mass transit that utilizes low-pressure tubes, a hyperloop transports people and goods at lightning fast speeds. Based on SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's original concept, hyperloop pods will hypothetically travel over 700 mph (1,126 kph). In the MADE Collective's version, the hyperloop system would stretch 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) from San Diego/Tijuana across the Texas/Mexico border. But this chunk of land wouldn't just be a standalone transit system according to the MADE Collective's proposal. It would also become an entirely new territory called Otra Nation.
That's right: In response to Trump's call for designs, the group offered to create an independent nation for the U.S. and Mexico to share. The full proposal was submitted to both governments with a budget cost to the U.S. of approximately $10 billion to 15 billion. The MADE Collective's proposal also includes the additional $11 billion Trump has earmarked for the border wall to be reinvested into healthcare, education and the arts in the United States, as well as plans for stations throughout the hyperloop network to serve people from all nations, and solar farms to power the system.
The group's members laid out their full plan on a dedicated Otra Nation website, and they've also launched a Change.org petition to replace the border's current fencing with its hyperloop design. "Mexico and the United States have always prospered when they see each other's strengths by working together," the group writes on its website. "We propose the eradication of the entire U.S./Mexico border via a trans-national 'New Deal' to create a shared co-nation called Otra Nation, built on local economic empowerment, energy independence and revolutionary infrastructure and transit."
While MADE Collective member Memo Cruz told TIME he considers the group's proposal "eternally optimistic," he and the group are completely sincere in their proposal and hope the plan will get people on both sides of the border talking. "The border situation is a very serious topic and it's much more nuanced than a physical boundary," Cruz says. "We understand the relationship between border cities both economically and through transit and so we wanted to have a positive, proactive solution."
It remains unclear whether the proposed wall will ever be a true reality, however. Trump initially assured Americans that he would stick Mexico with the construction bill, but he has since turned to Congress to ask for funding. The plan has also been the subject of skepticism and scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans, and some suspect U.S. taxpayers would actually be forced to foot the bill, which an MIT study estimates could cost anywhere from $27 billion to $40 billion.