Ohio Senate Supports Columbus Hyperloop Plans, With No Money Attached

Sep 20, 2017

Ohio Senators passed a resolution unanimously supporting the effort to bring a super-high-speed transportation system to connect Columbus with Pittsburgh and Chicago – but did not commit any money to the idea.

Columbus, part of the Midwest Connect Hyperloop plan, was one of 10 winners in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. If completed, the pod system would theoretically allow Ohioans to go from Columbus to Chicago in 29 minutes or to Pittsburgh in just 18.

But Republican Sen. Kevin Bacon, one of the bill’s sponsors, says the resolution doesn’t come with a promise of money if it’s selected.

“We’re not allocating state dollars to the project,” Bacon says. “Whether or not they seek public funding for the project in the future, I don’t know.”

A lot of questions remain about how much the hyperloop will cost, the design and safety features of it and whether it could actually deliver on the fast speeds promoted.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, one of the organizations involved in the Midwest Connect project, says it will meet with Hyperloop One to discuss the project’s next steps.

This resolution has no force of law, and sponsors say it was intended to send a message that Ohio is willing to work to get it developed.

Hyperloop One said the Midwest Connect project was selected for the “untapped potential” of the corridor, and for its lack of freight or rail connection.

A few years ago, Ohio turned away federal money for a passenger rail line to connect Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. Currently, Columbus is the second largest city in the U.S. without an intercity transit system.