The Baltimore Sun reports today that Governor Hogan, after riding some of Japan’s most advanced maglev (Magnetic Levitation) train systems, some of which can exceed 300 mph, he will seek $28 million in grants to study bringing this technology to the Baltimore-Washington corridor.
Various proposals have been put forward to introduce Maglev technology into the United States, and particularly the crowded Northeast corridor, as a way to provide more efficient city-to-city service. Cost estimates for a Maglev line from DC to Baltimore run into the billions, perhaps as much as $10 billion for construction, although operating costs for Maglev tend to be much lower than other transit modes because they can be more fully automated and have much few moving parts (wheels, brakes, bearings, etc.) that require extensive ongoing maintenance with heavy and light rail systems.
Moving forward with a study, as the Governor apparently wants to do, will answer a lot more questions about the practicality of such a system, but this is not anything that will likely be implemented soon, and much more immediate priorities for the DC region remain unfunded — a topic that will be the focus of SMTA’s upcoming Transportation Summit on June 12th.
Stay tuned. Maglev may be a topic we’ll be hearing a lot more about in the future.
Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance (SMTA) Vice Chair, Richard Parsons, spoke out strongly in favor of the Purple Line at a recent debate at the AFI Theater in Silver Spring, organized by the Maryland Public Policy Institute. Parsons squared off against noted transit critic, Randall O’Toole of the Cato Foundation.
Parsons made the case that both the economic development the Purple Line would bring — tens of thousands of new jobs every year in addition to thousands of short-term construction jobs — and the transportation benefits from creating a regional transportation network by linking existing metro lines together into a more robust system — would be well worth the $2.5 billion investment.
The debate was featured in several articles including this one in the Gazette.
SMTA is urging our members to contact Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to support construction of the Purple Line as soon as possible.
Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller testified in Annapolis today in favor of a far-reaching package of transportation investment measures at a hearing before the Senate Budget & Tax Committee. Calling the situation a “crisis” not a “problem” and proposing a menu of funding options for lawmakers to consider, President Miller did the one thing we’ve seen too little of from state leaders in recent years — a willingness to step up and LEAD. Bravo!
Now let’s see what the rest of our leaders are made of. As the Senate President pointed out today, this is a matter of economic survival for Maryland, especially in light of the likely passage of a major new funding package in Virginia this week. The clock is ticking…
Sign our petition right now if you are tired of congestion, poor road conditions, failing bridges and lack of new transit options. We can do something about it with your help.
For more on today’s hearing, see today’s post in the Baltimore Sun.
Last month, the Rockville City Council abruptly reversed itself on the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT), asking the State of Maryland to re-route the CCT alignment away from King Farm, one of the major communities it was designed to serve. The State is now in the final stages of identifying it’s “Preferred Local Alternative” for the long-awaited transit line extending from Shady Grove Metro Station north to Clarksburg. Supporters of the CCT are asking the State to continue with current plans and retain the alignment through King Farm, which was designed around the CCT as a “transit-oriented development” (or TOD) from its inception, with the full support of the City. Without the CCT on the alignment that was envisioned in County master plans, the fear is that traffic conditions on surrounding roads, access to jobs and housing for King Farm residents and neighbors, and King Farm property values would all be negatively impacted.
The CCT will add tremendous value to King Farm by providing convenient transit access to destinations up and down the heavily traveled I-270 corridor, and it was a big part of the reason King Farm is there at all. This is what transit-oriented suburban development was supposed to be all about. Rockville would be better served by retaining the current alignment and the more sustainable development patterns that can be achieved through transit-oriented development, in King Farm and elsewhere.
Transportation funding remains a key issue in Maryland this year. Tell your legislators to Invest Now!