Sunday, November 08, 2015

Maryland wins $27.8 million grant to advance DC-Baltimore high speed Maglev train

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Saturday that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the state $27.8 million to advance private sector efforts toward the construction of a high-speed Maglev train system between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. The award bumps Maryland to the forefront of high-speed rail innovation in the United States. With operating speeds of over 300 M.P.H., the 15-minute trip between the two cities would surpass the speeds planned for any of the high-sped rail routes previously developed by the Obama administration.

If constructed, the route would have dramatic economic development benefits, most especially for Baltimore City. Currently floundering with vast sections of vacant, abandoned properties, the City could become an appealing bedroom community for those working in the DC area who need affordable housing. Unlike light rail plans moving forward or canceled under Hogan, Maglev is competitive with auto transportation. The Maglev could reach downtown Baltimore in one-fourth the time it would take to drive there on congested I-95. Unlike light rail or BRT poking along, Maglev could actually free up highway capacity on I-95 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

The grant was lauded by Gov. Hogan and other officials yesterday.

“The ability to travel between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in only 15 minutes will be absolutely transformative, not just for these two cities, but for our entire state,” Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement. “This grant will go a long way in helping us determine our next steps in this transportation and economic development opportunity.”

“Maryland will be on the leading edge of technology as the only state in the nation with the private-sector-led pursuit of SCMaglev,” Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn said.

Even the Japanese ambassador weighed in on the state's win.

“We are very pleased to see this funding announced,” said Japanese Ambassador Kenichirō Sasae. “Working with the United States Government, the State of Maryland and Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail, we will prove that this cutting-edge Japanese technology will be a great asset to the busy Northeast Corridor.”

Such a route could ultimately extend from Washington to Boston, in line with plans already laid out by Amtrak.

Maryland's effort is being led by a private firm, Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail.

That firm will use the funds to begin planning and engineering analysis for the rail line, and to review what permits would be needed for construction.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Given that this grant is from the USDOT, not from the MD MTA, why not show a picture of the Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, instead of Governor Hogan?

Anonymous said...

If the Maglev is not extended beyond either Baltimore or Washington, it will be a gigantic white elephant. No one would use it besides DC commuters who live in Baltimore, and DC metro residents who want to visit Harborplace.

Robert Dyer said...

7:14: It would still have major benefits for DC and Baltimore, even if it didn't extend further. But given that Amtrak is planning for a true high-speed NE Corridor - potentially on a new right-of-way - it would make sense to extend a Maglev system already in place down here.

Robert Dyer said...

6:56: Mainly because Hogan is the winning actor in obtaining the funds.

Anonymous said...

Three stations - Camden, BWI and Union. Seems extremely expensive for such a small market.

The money would be much better invested by upgrading Amtrak's route through Baltimore. That would benefit the entire East Coast.

Robert Dyer said...

1:48: Considering a 15-minute train to Baltimore costs the same as the full MoCo BRT buildout - $10 billion - it sounds like a comparative bargain. Unlike BRT, Maglev can actually beat automobile travel time.

Anonymous said...

The speed benefit is lost if the train has too many stops. I'm surprised they put the BWI stop in there.

I rode the maglev in Shanghai. Smooth and fast ride.

Anonymous said...

"Unlike light rail or BRT poking along, Maglev could actually free up highway capacity on I-95 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway."

Wow, talk about a straw man. I-95 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway don't go through Montgomery County, so how could the BRT be relevant to traffic on those highways? Ditto the Purple Line and the Baltimore Red Line, which both run perpendicular to that corridor.

Anonymous said...

"Considering a 15-minute train to Baltimore costs the same as the full MoCo BRT buildout - $10 billion - it sounds like a comparative bargain."

Not even remotely true. Construction costs for the full 79-mile system are currently $1.6 billion, not "$10 billion".

Robert Dyer said...

8:27: The comparison is purely on the merits of Maglev vs. BRT - of course the BW Parkway isn't in MoCo. But the ridership potential is far higher on Maglev for the reason I mentioned. It actually beats car travel times.

Robert Dyer said...

8:56: Please review what I said - the full BRT system originally proposed was cited as $10 billion by the County's own planner. They then cut it in half, meaning it was then $5 billion. I highly recommend you review Jerry Garson's testimony at the ITA hearing to get a sense of why $1.6B is an insanely-fake cost projection for BRT. He found the math simply doesn't add up, and excluded many known costs. For example, it projected no spending on personnel. Not possible, folks.

Anonymous said...

Link, please?

Anonymous said...

"It actually beats car travel times."

Except that the existing service on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is already faster than driving between Union Station and Penn Station. And that stops at New Carrollton in addition to Union Station, BWI, and Penn Station.

Robert Dyer said...

9:32: It's currently not anywhere close to a 15-minute trip to Baltimore via Amtrak.

9:16: It was a televised meeting.

Betsy said...

I thought you said having bedroom communities is bad? Can you explain how here it's suddenly good for Baltimore to become a bedroom community? While it's bad for Montgomery County to be a bedroom community?

Anonymous said...

"It was a televised meeting."

Surely there is a transcript somewhere? And what was the date of the meeting?

Anonymous said...

Reading your article, one is left with the impression that this proposal originated with Governor Hogan, during the ten months that he has been in office.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_%E2%80%93_Washington_D.C._Maglev

Anonymous said...

Option 1: Rockville to Baltimore via the ICC and I95 = 55 minutes.

or

Option 2: Rockville to Union Station via Metro: 37 Minutes, + Wait for Maglev train at Union Station: 15 minutes + then Maglev ride to Baltimore: 15 minutes = 67 minutes.

So ... tell me how Maglev is so great for commuters, tourists and taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

@8:56 PM. You need look no further than the Task Force Report to see the estimated cost for the BRT. Only 4 of the 11 Routes have estimates. The estimated capital cost in 2015 dollars for 4 of the 11 BRT routes is $2.5 billion. When financing and operating costs are included, the cost for 4 of the 11 routes is between $5.7 and $6.2 billion in 2015 dollars. So yes the planners' original estimate of $10 billion for the whole system is probably somewaht low at this point. Here's the link to the financial info from the latest Task Force Report on 4 of the 11 routes
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/transit-task-force-2015/Resources/Files/Appendix_6b_PFM_RTS_Financial_Scenarios_9-15-2015.pdf

Anonymous said...

The $10 billion (actually $10-12 billion) cost estimate for Maglev is for construction only. It does not include operating costs. And like any other project, those costs can increase, too.

Anonymous said...

@6:28 You are assuming I-95 into downtown Baltimore is a cakewalk, and it's usually not. On top of that, I think the typical usage we'll see in the morning is: crappy Baltimore area with cheap housing and subway access -> Baltimore train station -> Union Station -> metro somewhere in DC for work.

That time-wise is probably less than someone living in Damascus and driving to Shady Grove then taking the Metro in. Why did I pick Damascus? Because it's a housing cost thing -- people will be comparing the cost of housing in Baltimore to what they can get for the same price in the DC area.

Anonymous said...

Why should MoCo residents subsidize Baltimore residents who want to commute from Baltimore to Washington DC in less time than it takes to get from Bethesda to "North Bethesda"?

G. Money said...

Yeah, Shady Grove->Dupont Circle is 30 minutes, which would be roughly identical to Baltimore->Union Station->Dupont Circle (including transfer time).

That also means it would be faster to commute to NoVa from Baltimore than from most parts of the Red Line in MoCo.

I don't know if that makes it worth the price tag, but it's pretty interesting.

Anonymous said...

How come you say it's a good thing for Baltimore to become an appealing bedroom community but then disparage MoCo for the same thing?

Anonymous said...

Why should we be shuttling Marylanders to jobs in DC. It should stop at a Maryland downtown like Silver Spring or Bethesda. Certainly won't attract a Fortune 500 company to MoCo.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a waste of $60M. Yes ... the original $28.7 will balloon to twice that. And then, there will NEVER be funding for a 15-minute, $20B train ride. This is just plain stupid.

Anonymous said...

These types of trains exist and work well in both China and Japan. In Japan, it's feasible to live in Nagoya and work in Tokyo, since the bullet train ride is under an hour. In China, you can live in Tianjin and work in Beijing -- it's a 30minute ride at 180mph and the trains run every 20-30 minutes (for $6/ticket).

The population in the US at large, and in this are in particular, is going up and will continue to do so. People need to live somewhere. Attempts to improve density (Westbard plan, among others) are meeting with lots of resistance from existing residents for many reasons, like overcrowding schools and increased traffic congestion. So wouldn't it be better if new residents lived in affordable housing that is already built and exists in downtown Baltimore? That city has been a major population decline since its heyday, so there is plenty of housing stock available, and at a reasonable price.

When I worked in downtown DC, I had coworkers who lives in Sheperdstown, WV and in Frederick -- they commuted in each day on the MARC train to Union Station. If it worked for them, then a faster train from a place with much more housing stock, certainly seems feasible.

Anonymous said...

"These types of trains exist and work well in both China and Japan. In Japan, it's feasible to live in Nagoya and work in Tokyo, since the bullet train ride is under an hour."

"Bullet train" and Maglev are two completely different technologies. Japan's maglev is several decades away from completion, and will serve only Tokyo and Osaka, bypassing Nagoya and other intermediate cities.

Robert Dyer said...

5:15: It was previously explored by the Ehrlich administration, as was the Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative, but the General Assembly failed to act. It was also an agenda item for gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur. But you have to give Hogan credit for doing an endrun around the do-nothings in Annapolis to move the ball forward.

Robert Dyer said...

4:41: In Baltimore, as in Tysons, it makes more sense. Both already have employment, but they lack residents. Here, everyone is going into DC or over to NoVa during the morning rush. A lack of residents is hardly a problem in MoCo, with 1 million of them already.

Robert Dyer said...

6:28: It's not supposed to be for Rockville commuters. It's for people who live or work in the urban centers of downtown DC and Baltimore.

Robert Dyer said...

2:04: Yes, it's very much a smart growth plan. The new competition for housing would also force down the inflated real estate prices of Montgomery County, creating more affordable housing. Who will pay a premium to live in Olney or Clarksburg when their commute into Washington is 3 or 4 times as long as the one from Baltimore?

Robert Dyer said...

12:05: I agree it won't make MoCo more attractive to corporations. The most we'd get out of it would be the tax revenues from the corporations who'd find Baltimore more attractive with the Maglev.

Betsy said...

Sorry can you clarify your explanation? Baltimore it makes sense because it has jobs? Your article talks about transporting residents into DC and Baltimore becoming more of a bedroom community. I'm confused by what you mean. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

So you want to spend $10-20 billion in taxes to lower our property values, and increase those in Baltimore, and subsidize new jobs in DC?

Only Dyer could come up with a plan like that.

Anonymous said...

Anything other than actually building new homes for people who want to both live and work in Montgomery County.

Anonymous said...

NoVa is considering upgrades to transit in the Route 7 corridor - BRT or light rail.

Will Dyer praise them for their ingenuity?


http://wtop.com/virginia/2015/11/transit-options-considered-route-7-corridor/

Robert Dyer said...

5:51: You have to have office parks and corporate headquarters to provide the jobs. Your guys are only building residential and McJobs on the ground floor.

Robert Dyer said...

6:00: I wouldn't want to weigh in before reading the details. The fact that VDOT has become a puppet of urban development firms under the current governor (I-66 plan as example), doesn't make me optimistic.

Robert Dyer said...

5:06: Right now we're all subsidizing high rents and home prices here in MoCo. Competition is good.

Anonymous said...

"You have to have office parks and corporate headquarters to provide the jobs."

"VDOT has become a puppet of urban development firms under the current governor."

"Right now we're all subsidizing high rents and home prices here in MoCo."

Not even remotely based in reality.

Robert Dyer said...

11:05: I assume you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years. Just check the plan for I-66 inside the Beltway, or the sham report by VDOT on the "river crossings" that concludes we don't actually need one. I think it came with one of those red rubber clown noses as a souvenir. Based on your comment, you might be able to put it to good use.

Anonymous said...

So the fact that VDOT disagrees with you is proof of "becoming a puppet of urban development"?

More birdbrain "logic".

tonyon said...

maglev&zipper for space elevator future

tonyon said...
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tonyon said...
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tonyon said...

...space-elevator (a cable to the moon)... Train Moon space elevator is not possible, because if could climb (to orbital counterweight for sends away by pulleys "clothesline" system installed previously from Moon◙══════◙Counterweight...) each perigee 1 section track with 100 mts in length, 13 perigees/year, and only could climb 10 sections/year = 1 km/year or Track, 380,000 kms would need 380,000 years! builds the total Track. Moon space elevator with cable, perhaps, orbital Station-counterweight located between 56,000 kms in perigee (36,000 kms for no collision with geostationary space-elevator of Earth + 20,000 kms possible difference of Moon´s perigee) and 106,000 kms in apogee (56,000 + 50,000 kms approx. difference Moon´s Apogee - Perigee) from Earth. 2 space-elevators, 1 in each cable pulleys "clothesline", while one go up to the Moon, the other go down to Earth. But...supposing a speed 100 kms/hour: 380,000 kms/100 = 3,800 hours, 5 months travelling...

tonyon said...
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tonyon said...

...space-elevator (orbital station bike wheel-1g)... geostationary orbit, a huge "bike-wheel" is gyrating around its own axis for have 1g-centrifugal. Wheel held in place with 4 CABLES (two of them with a track for Train) FORMING THE STRUCTURE OF A RHOMBUS♦ (minor diagonal of rhombus is the gyration axis of the Station-Wheel)...rhombus´s below, the carbon nanotubes Track towards Earth...rhombus´s above, the Cable towards the higher counterweight...if...WHEEL´s RADIUS = 250 mts... Wheel gyration´s axis length = rhombus´s minor diagonal = Wheel´s radius = 250 mts... Cable´s length of the rhombus´s side = Wheel diameter = 500 mts. Wheel´s ZONE-1g: habitable length = 1571 mts*50 mts wide*50 mts height, gyrating 360º each 31 seconds, angular-speed = 11.61º/sec, linear-speed = 182 kms/h... Station-Wheel´s GYRATION: AXIS IN PERPENDICULAR (90º) ORIENTATION TO ORBITAL TRAJECTORY...and so, while Station-Wheel follows its geostationary orbit, the Wheel does Not changes the spatial-orientation of its axis, and thus there are Not Precession forces actuating (and thus there is Not collision tendency of the Station-Wheel against the rhombus´s cables...but the system must supporting lateral charges against Track produced by the Coriolis effect when Train goes upwards or downwards...), the gyroscopic-rigidity contributes for maintaining forever the gyration-axis perpendicular to orbital trajectory... When the Maglev Train slowly arrives, using now their retractable cogwheels by the Zipper-Track (zippers installed on the same Maglev-track), Train stops in Geo 0g-station placed over one extreme of the gyration axis... Passengers disembark and entering into gyratory circular corridor, they take now the interior-elevator of one of the Wheel´s hollow-radius, and tunnel "descending" till Hotel into the final Zone-1g...where while Station-Wheel goes turning, the immense O2 producer Hydroponics Garden receives a filtered Sun light...and there are Earth´s awesome views.