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Ohio planners will move full speed ahead on a proposed hyperloop system that would carry passengers between Pittsburgh and Chicago in about 58 minutes for a one-way cost of about $93.
But the full system, known as Mid-West Connect, probably wouldn’t be finished until about 2050.
Thea - Walsh - Director - Transportation - Funding
Thea Walsh, director of transportation and funding for the Columbus, Ohio-based Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, said this week the agency is putting the finishing touches on feasibility and environmental impact studies but has concluded it should pursue the hyperloop system. The system being developed by Virgin Hyperloop One would move passengers and freight in pods through low-pressure tubes at speeds of 500 miles per hour.
The agency has begun briefing Ohio communities that helped to pay for the studies before they are released in case local officials want changes or more information to be included. Ms. Walsh said the agency has concluded it should pursue a hyperloop system instead of expanded rail service, although rail service would be available as a fallback if the hyperloop technology proves unsuccessful or isn’t certified by the federal government.
Answer - MsWalsh - Technology - Rail - Hyperloop
“I feel like there’s a real, common-sense answer,” Ms.Walsh said. “We have looked at both of them. If a better technology proves to be faster and cheaper, why would we choose to pursue rail? If hyperloop lives up to its expectations, that’s the way to go.
“If not, then why would we abandon rail? It would still be there.”
Ms - Walsh - Studies - Cost - Estimate
Ms. Walsh said the studies haven’t settled on a final cost estimate for installing a hyperloop system, but they have determined installing a system would by physically possible using mostly existing railroad rights of way. The cost would be lower from Columbus to the west, where there is mostly flat topography, than it would be to the east, which has more hills and valleys, she said.
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