A High Speed Rail For Baltimore And The Northeast? | WYPR

A High Speed Rail For Baltimore And The Northeast?

Sep 23, 2015

Image of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation
Credit jiadoldol // Flickr Creative Commons

Now we’re going to discuss superconducting magnetic levitation, commonly called “maglev.”  This is the technology that might move you from downtown Baltimore to BWI in 5 minutes. And on to downtown Washington in another 10 minutes. On trains that move faster than 300 miles an hour not with wheels rolling on steel tracks, but cars that would float—or, levitate - inside concrete pathways.  

If it sounds like science fiction, maybe that's part of its appeal. When The North East Maglev project threw itself a party this week to celebrate opening its Baltimore office, city and state leaders seemed almost starry-eyed in their support.  Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who is on the project's advisory board, said: "I love big. I love blowing people’s minds. Let's build this thing!”

But, as futuristic as it seems, maglev has been trying to get started in Maryland for more a couple of decades. A previous proposal hit legislative snags a dozen years ago, and there's always been a big price tag. Now It's estimated building the first leg of a northeast system--the line from Baltimore to DC--would cost $12 billion.

We want to get a better idea of what momentum the project has this time and what questions Marylanders should be asking. Wayne Rogers, CEO of the North East Maglev project, joins on the line from Annapolis. And Brian O'Malley, president of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, joins us in the studio.