Friday, November 22, 2013

MagLev Proposal: Why Not California?

Would love for someone to explain to me why California's planned HSR is not a better place for the Japanese to demonstrate their technology.  I'm all for true HSR and have been dreaming of maglev trains literally since I was a kid . . . but this proposal as noted has fatal problems.
The New York Times reported Monday that Japan, desperate to export its magnetic-levitation (maglev) technology, has offered to pay for 40 miles of a 300-mile per hour maglev train from Washington, DC to Baltimore, a route that would conveniently give lawmakers an eight-minute trip to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. A mix of public and private funds raised by The Northeast Maglev company (TNEM) would be used to build the rest of the route to New York. If lawmakers bite, residents of the Northeast Corridor could someday zip between Washington and New York in an hour flat.. . . .Should the privately-owned maglev succeed, it would sap Amtrak’s high-speed Acela Northeast Corridor, the agency’s major source of revenue for maintaining the rest of the country’s less populated but still indispensable routes. Without the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak would never be able to maintain even the barebones service it currently offers across the Midwest, the West, and the South. TNEM chairman Wayne Rogers made clear to Politico that the company does not plan to collaborate with Amtrak, but compete. “Right now, this is a privately led venture,” Rogers said. “If we looked at it like airlines, I don’t think that, you know, JetBlue would be saying United Airlines has a seat at their table.”
I'd actually love to see Amtrak proposing something along these lines . . . but this proposal, for a private company (with majority public funding!) to basically gut Amtrak's Northeast Corridor ridership . . . is a potential money pit of graft.

Is grifting the only industry we have left?

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