WASHINGTON -- How would you like to get to and from the nation's capital and New York City in an hour while avoiding annoyances at the airport?
The Washington Post reports that the Northeast Maglev, a private, D.C.-based company -- working with the group that runs Japan's bullet train -- is proposing to bring a high-speed "magnetic levitation" rail system between D.C. and New York, with stops in between. Trips between D.C. and Baltimore would take just 15 minutes. Getting all the way to New York from D.C. would take about an hour. The system would, the company says, eventually be extended to Boston.
Sounds great, right? The Post explains why similar proposals have failed:
It is not the first time there’s been an interest in building a maglev system in the Northeast, but previous attempts were halted by lack of support from lawmakers and funding shortfalls. In 2001, officials with the Maryland Department of Transportation, the District of Columbia, Baltimore, Baltimore County and the Maryland Transit Administration formed the Baltimore-Washington Maglev Project, which competed for Federal Railroad Administration consideration to develop a 39-mile maglev line linking Camden Yard in Baltimore, BWI Airport and Union Station in D.C. But the project, which in 2007 was estimated to cost $5.1 billion, was cost-prohibitive and lacked legislative support, Maryland Transit Administration spokesman Terry Owens said.
Last week, Amtrak released plans for big long-term upgrades to its busy Northeast Corridor, including improving tracks, digging new tunnels and building new bridges that would allow 220 m.p.h. train service and cut the trip between D.C. and New York to 94 minutes.
It also includes building a new underground terminal at Union Station for high-speed rail service.
But the maglev proposal is separate from Amtrak's plans.
Reason magazine wrote in January that maglev projects are no longer in favor outside the U.S., either, citing Spain's and China's low ridership, and China's somewhat alarming safety record.
But maglev proposal has at least one high-profile supporter. Ted Leonsis, the former AOL executive who owns the Caps, the Wizards, the Mystics and the Verizon Center, enthused about the proposal on his "Ted's Take" blog:
I have seen the Maglev train and taken it in China. It is really a beautiful ride – from the airport into the city in ten minutes instead of an hour.
Read this Washington Post story. As a dedicated Acela customer, I hope this is true. D.C. to Baltimore in 15 minutes, D.C. to NYC in 60 minutes – that would be perfect!
Investing in infrastructure and transportation services is smart and necessary for growing our economy.
Japan and China have made these investments, it is time we do so too!
Perhaps the billionaire investor will put his money where his mouth is -- in which case: