MORPC’s Midwest Connect Wins Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge

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Midwest corridor among ten global winners to implement new transportation technology

(COLUMBUS, OH – Sept. 14, 2017) – The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s (MORPC) proposal to connect Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh via high-speed transportation was selected today as one of 10 winners of Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge. The Global Challenge, kicked off in May 2016, was an open call to individuals, universities, companies and governments to develop comprehensive proposals for using Hyperloop One’s disruptive transportation technology in their region to move passengers and goods point-to-point, swiftly, and on-demand. MORPC’s proposal, Midwest Connect, was one of more than 2,600 registrations selected from more than 100 countries.

“We are excited to work closely with Hyperloop One to explore this project’s development and impact on Central Ohio and the Midwest,” said William Murdock, MORPC Executive Director. “Our Midwest Connect proposal fulfills a need for faster surface transportation options in the Midwest and strengthens connections and economic opportunities between the growing, tech-savvy regions of Columbus and Pittsburgh with the global power of Chicago.”

MORPC joined forces with the Columbus Partnership and several other contributors, including the City of Columbus, the State of Ohio, The Ohio State University, regional planning organizations across the corridor, as well as other public and private partnerships, to develop the Midwest Connect Hyperloop corridor. The proposal estimates the high-speed transportation mode could connect people and goods between Columbus and Chicago within 29 minutes and 18 minutes between Columbus and Pittsburgh.

“Strong bonds of partnership and collaboration between government and business leaders are at the core of the region’s commitment to bring Hyperloop One to Columbus and the Midwest,” said Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership. “Hyperloop One is one of many transportation efforts happening in Central Ohio that make the area a smart region and exciting for disruptive technologies.”

The Midwest Connect is one of 10 proposals selected by Hyperloop One to move forward in the process. Hyperloop One Global Challenge winning routes can connect 53 urban centers and 148 million people through routes spanning 4,157 miles in five countries and three continents, including in the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Canada. Other winning routes include:

US Dallas-Laredo-Houston (Texas)

• US Cheyenne-Denver-Pueblo (Colorado)

• US Miami-Orlando (Florida)

• India Bengaluru-Chennai

• India Mumbai-Chennai

• UK Edinburgh-London

• UK Glasgow-Liverpool

• Mexico Mexico City-Guadalajara

• Canada Toronto-Montreal

MORPC’s proposal was selected as one of 35 semi-finalists in January. Once selected, MORPC worked with many local partners to enhance the proposal and to develop support and partnerships from regional councils, governments, and businesses across the corridor from Chicago to Pittsburgh. In April, a delegation from MORPC and the Columbus Partnership traveled to Washington DC to present its case to a panel of experts in transportation, technology, economics and innovation and to Hyperloop One team members. Toward the end of the year, the winning teams will meet with Hyperloop One to discuss next steps and project implementation.

“Ohio has long been home to innovation and discovery that have created new industries and revolutionized the world, so we are thrilled to be selected as one of ten worldwide winners of Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich. “Midwest Connect builds on our heritage of innovation, complements our advances in smart mobility and strengthens Ohio’s position as a leader in technologies of the future.”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther added, “The Midwest Connect corridor well connects four states and three major cities of the Midwest, the epicenter of the US transportation network. This super-fast connection will bring together the third largest metropolitan area in the country, the rapidly growing and recently designated ‘Smart City’ for transportation and the emerging Silicon Valley of the East.”

“Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh are increasingly on the cutting edge of transportation innovation,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. “We’re looking forward to working with our partners in the Midwest to explore the potential of this transformational technology.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated, “Cutting edge ideas drive innovation, and as we look to build on Chicago’s unmatched transportation system, exploring forward thinking plans will keep us ahead of the game.”

In its announcement of winning routes, Hyperloop One stated that the Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh route was selected for its strong public/private stakeholder involvement across multiple states and its unique implementation of Hyperloop technologies to solve the lack of infrastructure in the region. The announcement goes on to state that “A Hyperloop connecting Pittsburgh, Columbus and Chicago would create a Midwest megaregion to rival the country’s coastal economic powerhouses. The proposal was chosen for the unique opportunity to realize this vision: there is currently no direct freight or passenger rail connection along the corridor, resulting in untapped economic potential; Hyperloop would transform the movement of goods and people in the Midwest, and leapfrog these communities into the next century.”

For more information about the project, please visit www.morpc.org/midwestconnect or www.hyperloop-one.com.

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The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is a voluntary association of local governments and regional organizations which envisions and embraces innovative directions in economic prosperity, energy, the environment, housing, land use, and transportation. Our transformative programming, services and innovative public policy are designed to promote and support the vitality and growth in the region. For more information, please visit www.morpc.org.

Hyperloop One is reinventing transportation by developing the world’s first Hyperloop, an integrated structure to move passengers and cargo between two points immediately, safely, efficiently, and sustainably. Our team has the world’s leading experts in engineering, technology and transport project delivery, working in tandem with global partners and investors to make Hyperloop a reality, now. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company is led by CEO Rob Lloyd and co-founded by Executive Chairman Shervin Pishevar and President of Engineering Josh Giegel. For more information, please visit www.hyperloop-one.com