By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Once considered a pie in the sky, a high speed Maglev train between Baltimore and D.C. may become a down-to-earth reality.

When President Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal he thinks there’s a place for high speed rail to improve infrastructure, Wayne Rogers was listening.

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“We’re very encouraged the President is looking at high speed rail,” he said.

As chairman of The Northeast Maglev, LLC advocacy group, Rogers isn’t talking about the speed of Amtrak’s Acela trains. He’s talking about the power of magnetic levitation, which allows trains to fly about the ground, not held back by the friction that wheels and tracks produce.

“The Acela train that at its fastest can go 150 miles per hour, it only averages 86 miles per hour,” he says. “The Maglev will take you at 311 miles per hour.”

It was traveling slightly faster two years ago, when Governor Larry Hogan took at Maglev ride in J apan, which is a leader in the technology.

“It was an incredible experience,” the governor said then. “Even more impressive than I expected it to be.”

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Northeast Maglev, LLC, says a trip between Baltimore and D.C. would take 15 minutes. An expansion to New York would be a 45-minute trip.

The estimated cost for the Baltimore/D.C. line is $10 billion. A federal grant of almost $28 million is being used for design studies.

The government of Japan is chipping in $2 million, and the Bank of Japan is pledging $5 billion to complete the project. That means Congress must come up with the other $5 billion.

Maglev’s backers hope the time is now right for that investment.

“The stars are aligning for it to happen,” Rogers says. It’s way overdue. And we hope the government will move quickly on this so that we’ll be in construction on this in the next two years.”

If the president can get Congress on board, high speed rail backers say a Maglev line between Baltimore and D.C. would take three years to construct.

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