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MORPC talks Hyperloop cost, passenger rail routes and stations

Regina Fox



Earlier this month, the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Committee met with Dublin City Council to discuss the future of transportation in Columbus. MORPC is calling this project the Rapid-Speed Transportation Initiative, which aims to improve connectivity between Chicago and Pittsburgh through two transportation technologies: traditional passenger rail and hyperloop.

Passenger rail would be able to transport passengers across the Midwest at speeds as high as 110 mph. Hyperloop would connect Chicago, Fort Wayne, Lima, Marysville, Columbus, and Pittsburgh and use electro-magnetic propulsion to send people through low pressure tubes up to 500 mph. See below for projected Hyperloop rider fares.

Click here for more on the Hyperloop studies.

In order to get these passenger rail off the ground, MORPC must conduct a preliminary environmental analysis and identify routes. And with Hyperloop, MORPC must first determine the feasibility of this new technology. Beyond that environmental, freight, and economic impacts will be explored.

In addition to presenting several route options for these exciting new forms of transportation, MORPC presenting Dublin the possibility of being a station location. According to the PowerPoint from the meeting, the site for a station must meet the following criteria:

  • Local preference
  • Former station location
  • Tangent track
  • Adjacent land use
  • Population center
  • Access to connecting infrastructure


While this all sounds well and good, you may be wondering why these projects are being pursued in the first place. MORPC cites the following reasons for exploring other forms of transportation:

  • It starts with safety—Last year 1,068 people died on Ohio highways. Ohio needs its highways, but we also need safe, productive alternatives
  • Weather, crashes and congestion mean less roadway reliability
  • Limited space to build enough lanes for all vehicles, even automated ones
  • People are asking for choices
  • Like interchanges, stations spur economic development opportunities

Moving forward the MORPC will continue to hold public meetings, facilitate collaboration, and create a travel demand advisory panel of public agencies, academic institution, and Virgin Hyperloop One (the only company in the world to have tested its hyperloop technology at scale) in order to keep the alternative transportation train on the tracks, literally.

Click here to read more about Hyperloop and passenger rail.

When I'm not weaving a beautiful tapestry of words, I'm likely digging through jewels and vinyls at an antique shop near you.

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COVID-19 puts Columbus Arts Festival on hold until next year

Mitch Hooper



Citing the COVID-19 outbreak, the Greater Columbus Arts council board has voted to cancel the 2020 Columbus Arts Festival, formerly scheduled for June 12-14.

"As much as we desperately want to go on as planned, we recognize that we must put the health and safety of our patrons, artists, performers, vendors and sponsors first," said Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of GCAC, in a press release. "As we’ve watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold, with all the uncertainty it holds for the near future, we could not in good conscience hold a festival that would bring artists and visitors from 38 states and four countries, and more than 500,000 people within close proximity to each other on the downtown riverfront."

In past press conferences, Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, has said that we could see the impacts of COVID-19 lasting into May with a gradual drop-off. Currently, Columbus has seen many events in May be canceled including Taco Fest and Six One Pour, both citing public health taking priority over the festivals.

This announcement comes as one of the first events in June to officially cancel due to the Coronavirus. Though it won't be taking place this year, Katzenmeyer remains hopeful for the future of Arts Fest.

"I will miss this energy. I will miss these people. I will miss being a part of this experience, and yes, I will miss fresh lemonade shake ups. But we made this decision to ensure that we all remain healthy and able to enjoy all these wonderful experiences at next year’s Arts Festival. And that is where I have my heart set."

In Central Ohio, June also plays host to the Memorial Tournament, the Pride Parade and Festival, and the Creekside Jazz and Blue Fest. 614Now will have more updates about upcoming events as they become available.

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Aunt Flow pivots manufacturing to help with the COVID-19 outbreak

Mitch Hooper



Of the many things COVID-19 has exposed a need for, one of the largest topics of conversation has been face masks. From nurses in hospitals to grocery store clerks, these are becoming equally important as they are difficult to find. However, Claire Coder, founder and CEO of Aunt Flow, is pitching in her manufacturing resources to assist in the crisis.

In a Facebook post on March 26, Aunt Flow announced that it has been working around the clock to produce FDA-approved face masks for those in need.

"We are here for YOU. People helping people. PERIOD," the post stated.[0]=68.ARBUMS95oPw2ZCc9mPy8pgjRK0I51qu-SBsit1FXkGvUkkR2p82F4yiscUHdZ2-ZG-rPDXhpsr75Lb6dfWhaC8TlLSko_Ny5MMYnY_z37TwaEm2CZoHkPA-YHSo3E2e9HpiyGPpzd7kocPW-tx676xDTWWcAtmQC1Vcc6Io_-JPyWSGnpqCYNfpc-5kG6VbjwpXRdnJ6TSAE0sN277g8-DvBZOs0n4WtEKb_sADA6aOA6Gw1FLlzhVXhsoBHtGpbcEFBrK8Xk7IRd_nxbFgBBI_4ZH5avE1kzTtv2ATlJcAdZHgInmjkcz5sG4deeIJeUN2NZP-jaIL_6doeThzbtO4iJtHf&__tn__=-R
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By The Numbers: How COVID-19 has impacted Ohio thus far

Mitch Hooper



While these numbers are subject to fluctuate and grow throughout the upcoming days and weeks, has released its current numbers on COVID-19 and its impacts.

Currently, as of March 31, 2020, here are the reports:

  • 2,199 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio
  • 585 total hospitalizations
  • 198 ICU admissions
  • 55 total deaths

The median age of these cases was reported at 53 with a sex split at 49% males and 51% females with a less than 1% not reporting their sex. The age range, however, goes from one year olds to 99-years-old.

614Now will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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