Pending federal approval, the Maglev Project could result in a 15 minute, 40 mile train ride between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, heading on up to New York within an hour. Approval could come this year—with completion in a decade.
$13.8 Billion: The Superconducting Maglev Project
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has completed the preliminary review of a superconducting magnetic levitation train seen as key to alleviating congestion on the Interstate 95 corridor. As reported by The Washington Post:
The technology that would be used, which has been tested in Japan, harnesses powerful magnetic forces that lift and propel trains four inches above a U-shaped guideway at speeds up to 375 mph. The trains between D.C. and Baltimore would travel as fast as 311 mph.
Private investor group, Northeast Maglev estimates the cost at $13.8- $16.8 billion, indicating that $5 billion would come from Japan, with the remainder coming from public and private sources, including federal loans and grants. According to the preliminary review:
The project would generate between 161,000 and 195,000 jobs during a seven-year construction period and yield between $8.8 billion and $10.6 billion of potential earnings for employees.
Once built, the maglev could support between 390 and 440 jobs annually, and between $24.3 million and $27.4 million of earnings for workers, according to the report, which also highlights benefits to property values near the proposed stations in D.C. and Baltimore.
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Possibilities—and Challenges: What’s Next for Maglev?
It is anticipated that the Federal Rail Administration will make a final recommendation later this year, following a comment period. Many questions and concerns have been raised by community groups and local government leaders related to the negative impacts of disruption and displacement, as well as, if completed, unrealistic costs for average commuters.
With thoughtful attention and investment needed to solve the challenges of aging infrastructure across the country, Construction Dive observes of Maglev:
The ambitious transit project would be unlike anything attempted in the U.S. before, and comes at a unique time for rail infrastructure.
Part of the proposal highlights the Baltimore-Washington area as ripe for such a project, due to the high traffic levels and large number of commuters moving between the cities. Transportation infrastructure between the two cities is aging, the report said, making it less reliable.
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