The California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) announced Monday that they had raised $1.2 million for a feasibility study which will assess the possibility of building a Hyperloop train, theoretically connecting Cleveland to Chicago in less than 30 minutes via underground vacuum-sealed tunnel.
The study will take 6-9 months.
"The Great Lakes [Cleveland to Chicago] Hyperloop is by far the largest movement of private and public organizations working with a Hyperloop company to develop a system in the United States,” said HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn, in a press release. “We are inviting other cities and organizations throughout the region to join us in bringing the next mode of transportation to reality."
NOACA’s Grace Gallucci chimed in as well. "Technologies like the Hyperloop can take our over-stressed infrastructure into the 21st century and beyond," she said in the release.
At the press conference Monday, Gallucci announced that the Cleveland Foundation had ponied up $200,000 for the study.
The University of Akron, the City of Akron, JobsOhio and a total of 18 public and private partners signed on as part of a regional consortium assisting with the study. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Congressman Tim Ryan, County Executive Armond Budish and others were on hand to celebrate innovation and tech and herald the dawn of venture capitalism on the Great Lakes.
That would all be fine — even exciting — if at the same time, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit authority (RTA), a totally non-speculative public transit system, weren't in a death spiral.
This reminds us of a quote in one of our stories last week
. We were writing about about the death of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, and how the funding for that important organization dried up at the same moment local leaders and the community have been brainstorming about how best and most creatively to solve the same problems that CTO had long tackled.
"To be somewhat critical of the funders, especially the private funders, that organizations like CTO depend on," researcher Michael Lepley told us: "They love the new, sexy stuff. They love to create programs. They do not want to be in the business of maintaining programs. And so what happens is, we get all these brand-new nonprofits instead of a few highly functioning organizations. "