CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The full $1.2 million feasibility study into the “Great Lakes Hyperloop” was released today, for what is described as the first new form of public transportation in decades.
The plan is to travel by capsule through a tube system, at top speeds of 700 mph from Pittsburgh, to Cleveland, to Chicago.
The capsule, that would use passive magnetics to levitate in a pressurized tube, is expected to cost between $50 and $60 million a mile depending on route and terrain, putting an estimated cost at $25 billion.
For the first time the price of a ticket was discussed.
“We want this to be affordable and accessible to all people,” study presenter Chuck Michael said.
The estimate given for a ticket, aboard a capsule that would carry anywhere from 28 to 44 passengers, would be two-thirds the cost of a ticket on Amtrak.
At the time of this article, an Amtrak ticket from Cleveland to Chicago on Dec. 27, was priced from $76 to $117 depending on the time of day traveled.
One of the reasons for a sliding scale on cost is the route has yet to be determined although there are three possibilities.
The minds behind the project said the biggest take away is that this project is not only self-sustaining but would not require public funding or subsidies because this would be a profitable form of transportation.
Part of the feasibility study was to come up with a benefit versus cost ratio.
Michael explained a project with a 1.0 benefit to cost ratio is not a good investment, because it shows for every $1 in investment, it returns $1 in profit.
That represents a break-even ratio.
Michael said a good project would have a 1.3 ratio, and described a project with a 1.5 ratio as a superstar.
The Hyperloop is estimated to have a 2.2 ratio which is why they feel private investors will come forward and support the project.
The reason costs are so low is the Hyperloop would use very little energy to run as the magnets are not charged, and a pressurized tube creates very little friction.
Solar panels on top of the tubes would create what energy the Hyperloop does use to launch capsules through the system.
“This is not going to be like a roller coaster like people think,” chairman of HyperloopTT Dirk Ahlborn said. “People will be able to stand up and walk around in the capsule.”
Now that the feasibility study is complete, the next step is an environmental and engineering impact study which could take 3 years.
There will also have to be studies into the route and right of way issues as the Hyperloop will run through four different states.
Developers said if all of the next steps go according to plan, the project could be up and running by 2028.
“I honestly think this is one of the most important projects,” Kaptur said of the project which has the chance to connect three major metropolitan communities into what they are calling a mega-region.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish may have said it best, “It’s time to think big if we want to separate us from the pack. Is this pie in the sky, yes, but if we want a slice of that pie we have to start thinking big.”