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Proposal for Hyperloop Between Chicago and Columbus Receives a Boost From Startup

Brent Warren Brent Warren Proposal for Hyperloop Between Chicago and Columbus Receives a Boost From StartupPhoto from Virgin Hyperloop One.
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A proposal from the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission to build a hyperloop from Chicago to Pittsburgh (with a stop in Columbus) received a boost from a startup looking to build the first prototype of the futuristic transportation idea.

Hyperloop One is a Los Angeles-based company that is researching the technology, which it describes as “an integrated structure to move passengers and cargo between two points immediately, safely, efficiently, and sustainably.”

What that means is small, pod-like vehicles that are shot through a giant pneumatic tube, using magnetic levitation to achieve speeds of over 600 miles per hour.

The Columbus proposal, called Midwest Connect, was selected as one of 35 semifinalists, from a reported pool of 2,600 applicants.

“MORPC is excited that our Midwest Connect proposal was selected,” said MORPC Executive Director William Murdock, in a statement. “It connects the people and freight of Columbus, which is the fastest growing region in the Midwest, to major transportations hubs in the west (Chicago) and to the east (Pittsburgh).”

Although the hyperloop concept has received lots of attention since Tesla founder Elon Musk first floated the idea in 2013 – sketching out a plan to transport people between Los Angeles and San Fransisco in 35 minutes – urban planning and transportation experts have raised a number of red flags about the idea from the very beginning.

Count Harvey Miller, OSU Geography Professor and Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, among the skeptics.

“Hyperloop is an unproven technology, while high speed trains are well-proven in many parts of the world,” Miller said. “Why don’t we just build high speed trains?”

MORPC has also been involved in a proposal to build a high-speed passenger rail connection between Chicago and Columbus – that idea is in the early planning stages, but the City of Columbus is not participating in the effort.

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