BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s expensive, runs at more than 300 miles an hour and has the power to transform the East Coast.
Mike Hellgren looks into the push for a new supertrain that could bring big bucks to Baltimore.
It’s a train like no other. The Maglev was engineered in Japan and, if some powerful backers get their way, it’s coming to Baltimore.
The Maglev blows the Acela away, running as fast as 311 miles an hour. Leaving Washington, D.C, you’d get to Baltimore in just 15 minutes and on to New York City in just 45 minutes more.
The Abell Foundation’s Robert Embrey is a big supporter.
“There are few, if any, capital projects that would have the impact on Baltimore that this would have,” said Embrey.
But the catch: it’s expensive. Perhaps $10 billion between D.C. and Baltimore.
So do the cons–high ticket prices, high construction cost, and a long building process–outweigh the pros of economic development and fast connections?
“There’s a whole bunch of pollution and a shortage of fuel and we need to do this,” said Jean Caswell.
“I guess the key word would be need. Is it really, is that the need? I think Maryland has a good transportation system,” said Sharon Sexton.
These trains would be unlike anything America has ever seen. They would move through the air without the friction of traditional steel rails and the route from Baltimore to Washington would largely be underground.
President Barack Obama backs rail investment, with former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood touting spending in Maryland.
“This is the initial investment to make sure high speed rail comes to America,” LaHood said.
Japan has promised to share the technology and part of the cost, but Congress would have to pay the rest, making this far from a done deal.
The Maglev train uses magnets to produce a powerful electric current. The company pushing it here, Northeast Maglev, believes it will create thousands of jobs.
“The SCMAGLEV system – the fastest train in the world – will revolutionize the Baltimore-Washington region,” Wayne Rogers, Chairman and CEO of the Northeast Maglev, said in a statement. “Bringing this world-class technology to the Northeast Corridor will bring tremendous benefits and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Baltimore and Washington.”
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